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Air pollution at Bishop's Stortford junction falls but nitrogen oxide levels still illegal

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Cllr Graham McAndrew (7714626)
Cllr Graham McAndrew (7714626)

Air pollution at Hockerill in Bishop's Stortford remains at an illegal level - despite a steady decline in nitrogen dioxide pollution over the past five years.

In 2016, the infamous junction was one of more than 250 sites in the east of England where lawful limits were breached.

The legal annual mean limit is 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic metre of air (µg/m3) and levels of more than 70 µg/m3 were recorded in the town, Waltham Cross, Sandy and Watford. In central London, the average annual level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Grosvenor Place, has reached 152 µg/m3.

However, air pollution monitoring figures just released as part of East Herts Council's 2018 Annual Status Report show that all three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs)

in the district have experienced significant drops in air pollution.

The district is working with the county council to bring pollution levels in the AQMAs down to the national air quality target of 40 µg/m3, despite traffic levels at an all-time high in Herts.

Fly posting in Bishops Stortford. Positive posting at Hockerill Junction. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (7715003)
Fly posting in Bishops Stortford. Positive posting at Hockerill Junction. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (7715003)

At Hockerill junction, the figure is now only just above the target at 41.8 micrograms, with air pollution in Stansted Road now below the target at 39.6 micrograms. It is a similar story in Gascoyne Way in Hertford but there is still some way to go at London Road, Sawbridgeworth where levels, while dropping from 53 micrograms in 2013, currently stand at 44.6 micrograms.

Executive member for environment and the public space, Cllr Graham McAndrew, said: "We're delighted to see decreasing air pollution in our key monitoring areas but we don't want to be complacent so we're working hard to continue this trend."

Recent projects have included an e-car club which is being trialled by council staff before it's rolled out for public use with e-cars being available in Hertford and Bishop's Stortford.

The council belongs to an air alert system, which people can sign up to for free and will provide alerts when poor air quality is detected. The scheme, launched on March 1, also gives people advice on how they can best avoid exposure.

In the coming year, the council aims to put together a supplementary planning document which will adopt the "polluter pays principle". It will provide guidance on minimising the environmental impact of developments in terms of pollution and ensure all construction follows sustainable design principles to help improve air quality where possible and to maximise opportunities for non-car modes of travel.

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