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See the streets in Ipswich with the highest levels of air pollution

PUBLISHED: 05:30 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:45 11 January 2020

Vehicle emissions are one of the biggest contributors to NO2 in urban environments Picture: GETTY

Vehicle emissions are one of the biggest contributors to NO2 in urban environments Picture: GETTY

Alex_Ishchenko

Pollution levels in more than half of the test sites in Ipswich have shown no improvement or got worse over the past 12 months, according to latest figures.

The national objective for NO Pollution levels in more than half of the test sites in Ipswich have shown no improvement or got worse over the past 12 months, according to latest figures.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels in 49 of 85 locations got worse or made no improvement, with the remaining 36 decreasing since last year, according to Ipswich Borough Council's (IBC) annual air quality report.

The national objective for NO2 levels is a maximum annual mean of 40 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) - 19 of Ipswich's readings were higher than this.

The three locations with the highest readings - Norwich Road, Fore Street and the junction of St Margaret's Street and Piper's Court - were among those exceeding this target, although all three saw a reduction on the previous year's figures. The location with the lowest pollution recording was Kings Avenue, with a mean reading of 17.

Norwich Road had the highest recorded level of NO2 in Ipswich in 2018 Picture: GOOGLE MAPSNorwich Road had the highest recorded level of NO2 in Ipswich in 2018 Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

In the 85 locations monitored across the town by IBC, the total annual mean concentration NO2 detected was 2960 micrograms per cubic meter - up 21 from last year.

What do the council say in response to the figures?

An IBC spokesman said: "We take air quality in Ipswich extremely seriously.

"Since the latest declaration, which covers land in and around the St Matthew's Street roundabout, Ipswich Borough Council adopted a new Air Quality Action Plan in 2019.

Councillor Alasdair Ross, portfolio holder for community protection Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILCouncillor Alasdair Ross, portfolio holder for community protection Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

"This outlines actions needed to improve air quality and how we can work with our partners to implement these measures."

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Ipswich has five Air Quality Management Areas, which are spaces where the national objective is being exceeded or likely to be exceeded.

In Ipswich these cover Chevallier Street, a stretch of town between Crown Pools and Grimwade Street, much of the College Street and Star Lane one-way system, as well as the busy commercial end of Norwich Road.

Extinction Rebellion are calling for greater efforts to fight climate change, such as a 'die-in' in the lobby at West Suffolk Council Picture: EXTINCTION REBELLIONExtinction Rebellion are calling for greater efforts to fight climate change, such as a 'die-in' in the lobby at West Suffolk Council Picture: EXTINCTION REBELLION

What are IBC doing to become 'greener'?

IBC was recognised earlier this year as the greenest authority in the east of England, with the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of domestic, commercial and industrial properties by an authority in the region.

The council has already made strides to tackle NO2 pollution, including replacing their diesel fleet cars with electric vehicles, emissions awareness classes in schools and a county-wide campaign to stop drivers leaving their engines running while parking.

What do environmental activists say?

Recognising that a climate emergency was declared by IBC and Suffolk County Council (SCC) in March 2019, local campaigners for Extinction Rebellion are calling for more drastic action to be taken, insisting the work of the air quality report does not go far enough.

A spokesman for the group said: "Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council have known about the shocking health impacts of air pollution for decades.

"They are aware of the high levels of pollution in Ipswich and aware they have a shared responsibility to reduce this pollution to legal and government target levels. Government has devolved powers to help them achieve this.

"The councils produced their first Air Quality Action Plan in 2008. This has been updated by the 2019 version. However, to date, no effective action has been taken and none is planned.

"The pollution levels remain unchanged and people continue to die. In fact, recent council policies undermine actions to reduce pollution - such as planning more car parks in the town centre, reducing and closing bus routes and closing a Park and Ride."


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