Transition Marlborough's air quality report sent to the Area Board
Wiltshire's unitary councillors have been given the job of developing - through the Area Boards - Air Quality Action Plans for each of the county's six towns which have designated Air Quality Management Areas. Marlborough is one of the six towns, but so far no action plan has been prepared.
New pressure to act on air quality came last April when the UK Supreme Court ruled that the government must take immediate action to cut air pollution levels throughout the country. Now the Area Board has before it a report on the town's air quality by Transition Marlborough - complete with a series of recommended actions.
As Marlborough News Online has reported, Transition Marlborough will be holding a public meeting early in 2016 to highlight the health dangers of poor air quality and to urge the Area Board's unitary councillors to take action.
Wiltshire Council has been monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels outside 6 Herd Street since the beginning of 2008. During this time, the level of NO2 there has been consistently above the safe limit. However, Transition Marlborough says in their report: "The response from Wiltshire Council has been to write annual 'progress reports' that simply confirm these exceedances, without making any practical recommendations to address the issue."
"Residents who live along the most polluted stretches of the A346 deserve some action to mitigate this serious public health problem. In order to reduce NO2 (and ultra-fine particulate) emissions to a safe level in Marlborough, traffic flows would need to be reduced by between 30 and 50 per cent."
Transition Marlborough has put forward eight recommendations to the Area Board:
• consider the impact on air quality when installing pedestrian crossings,
• improve public transport to reduce reliance on private cars,
• improve the cycling infrastructure,
• discourage cars from parking in the town centre,
• oblige bus drivers to turn off engines while waiting at Lloyds Bank bus stop,
• make random checks on diesel engines to measure toxic emissions,
• fit air purifiers in dwellings close to air pollution hot-spots,
• and constrain future developments within or adjacent to Marlborough's Air Quality management Area.
You can find Transition Marlborough's summary of their report as well as a link to the full nine page report here.