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Newmarket: Town’s plan to cut pollution includes electric cars and more cycling

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 September 2012

Traffic fumes, especially on race days, have been blamed for increase in nitrogen dioxide readings

Traffic fumes, especially on race days, have been blamed for increase in nitrogen dioxide readings

AN ACTION plan to tackle a raised level of pollution in a west Suffolk town has been produced by council bosses.

An area along the High Street and Old Station Road in Newmarket was previously designated as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) due to levels of nitrogen dioxide produced by road traffic.

Three years on, Forest Heath District Council, which formed a steering group with organisations including the Health Protection Agency, business forums, the Jockey Club and Highways Agency, has produced a plan to improve air quality.

The document, which reveals that nitrogen levels have often increased during prominent racing weekends, puts forward nine measures to combat pollution including the installation of electric vehicle charging points in town centre car parks.

Other recommendations deemed “practicable” by the steering group, involve carrying out further air quality awareness campaigns with businesses, managing bus routes into Newmarket High Street and encouraging cycling.

A spokesman for Forest Heath said: “In the national procedure used to measure air quality, part of Newmarket High Street and Old Station Road have slightly raised nitrogen dioxide levels, but it is in the lowest pollution band so there is no major impact on health. After considerable consultation among a range of stakeholders there is now a draft action plan to tackle this, mostly aimed at keeping traffic flow moving or reducing it where possible.

“ This action plan is being considered by stakeholders, including Forest Heath’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and once a plan has been agreed the various organisations responsible will look to see how it can be implemented.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council added: “The county council will work with Forest Heath District Council to see what practical measures can be taken to improve air quality in the High Street and Old Station Road areas of Newmarket.”

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