Revised air quality plan sees two Chichester management areas declassified

Chichester District Council has adopted its revised Air Quality Action Plan.

The decision, made during a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (January 11), will see two of the district’s Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) revoked as their pollution levels have dropped.

Local Authorities are required by law to declare AQMAs in areas where national air quality standards are not likely to be achieved, with action plans having to be revised every five years.

Chichester has declared four such areas since 2006 – in parts of St Pancras, Orchard Street, the Stockbridge A27 roundabout and Rumbold’s Hill, Midhurst.

Chichester's A27 Stockbridge roundabout

The meeting was told that the nitrogen dioxide levels in Orchard Street and Stockbridge were now ‘comfortably compliant’ with the required standards and their AQMAs could be ‘undeclared’.

This does not mean that air quality monitoring in either area will stop – they will simply no longer be highlighted problem zones.

As well as revoking the AQMAs, an air quality monitoring station at Lodsworth, which measures ozone – not a statutory pollutant – will be decommissioned.

The meeting was told that the air conditioning in a second monitoring station – in Orchard Street – had stopped working, with repairs estimated to cost £2,200.

The station is currently being ‘propped up’ using loaned equipment. It will be decommissioned once that equipment has to be returned.

The Air Quality Action Plan was put out to consultation in May and June 2021, attracting around 380 responses.

A number of people, including councillors, asked for air pollution to be monitored at the southern end of St Paul’s Road.

As such, a nitrogen dioxide monitoring site will be set up.

As for the rest of the plan, a report to the meeting said: “The majority agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal to continue with a range of actions to improve air quality in the district.

“The majority agree with ideas to introduce anti-idling campaigns and e-bikes and a green carpool for council staff to make work-related journeys.

“Likewise, the majority strongly agreed with actions proposed to tackle particulate matter in the district.”

With the work in the action plan largely dependant on grant funding, Tony Dignum (Con, Chichester North) stressed the need for the council to continue applying for grants.