Council’s plan to address pollution issues with new monitoring station

PUBLISHED: 08:43 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:43 07 January 2019

Traffic congestion in Saffron Walden.

Traffic congestion in Saffron Walden.

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The environmental health team at Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has applied for planning permission to install a new air quality monitoring station outside the police base in Saffron Walden.

The new air quality monitoring station at Uttlesford District Council will be painted green to blend with surroundings and will be obscured from vision beyond the office car park by the boundary wall on two sides. Picture: UDCThe new air quality monitoring station at Uttlesford District Council will be painted green to blend with surroundings and will be obscured from vision beyond the office car park by the boundary wall on two sides. Picture: UDC

The proposal is to replace the current mobile air quality station at the council offices in London Road with a permanent structure.

In the application, Ann Lee-Moore, environmental health officer at UDC, wrote: “Saffron Walden has consistently shown the highest levels of air pollutants when compared to other sites in the district, largely as a result of traffic congestion. The centre of the town has been designated an air quality management area due to exceedances at some junctions of the UK national air quality objectives.

“An action plan produced to address the exceedances includes a measure to review the need for additional monitoring of pollutants within the town centre.”

Currently, there are three automatic stations and approximately 24 diffusion tubes deployed across Uttlesford to monitor air quality.

One of the stations is a mobile unit - the one situated outside The Lodge, close to the boundary wall of the council offices - and temporary planning consent for the installation has now expired.

The second station is located at the junction of Thaxted Road and Radwinter Road, and a third is at the fire station in Hill Street.

Automatic stations are more accurate than other methods of measuring air quality and are better at providing real time monitoring data, according to the council.

In the application, Ms Lee-Moore said: “Automatic stations allow the council to respond rapidly to incidents of poor air quality and communicate to those most at risk from the effects of poor air quality, along with health advice.”

Therefore, the planning application hopes to better monitor air quality in Saffron Walden by installing a permanent unit.

Ms Lee-Moore added that the new monitoring equipment at The Lodge will be more “visually acceptable” and “less intrusive” than the current mobile unit. If the proposal is approved, the environmental health team want to “streamline” the use of their automatic monitoring equipment by decommissioning the equipment at the fire station in Hill Street - which will save the council £2,000 each year in servicing and maintenance costs.

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