Bournemouth's air quality hits the mark

Posted on Friday 19th October 2018

It’s official, Bournemouth’s air quality is within legal limits following a rigorous assessment process.

In July 2017, the Government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) produced its UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. In March this year, 28 local councils, including Bournemouth, received a ministerial direction requiring them to identify options to deliver air quality improvements and achieve compliance with the European Union (EU) Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC.

Bournemouth Borough Council emphasised at the time that based on its own air quality measurements there were no areas in Bournemouth that exceeded the required limit. As a result of further research, Defra have now confirmed that Bournemouth's air quality is compliant and within the legal limits for air quality.

Two stretches of road along the A338 Wessex Way were identified as potentially exceeding the 40 microgram limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This was based on computer modelling based on traffic levels rather than actual results and the readings which the Council were taking in nearby locations.

The Government’s model forecasted that a location near the Cooper Dean roundabout would not achieve compliance before 2019 and a second location near St Paul’s roundabout was forecast not to achieve compliance before 2021.

Bournemouth Borough Council carried out a detailed assessment of the two locations using the Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants’ (CERC) atmospheric dispersion modelling system. The model considered local data for air quality and traffic and verified that both areas are already in compliance.

Cllr Mike Greene, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability, Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “We keep a very careful eye on air quality and we advised Defra straight away that there were no problem areas in Bournemouth. We are pleased that the detailed assessment carried out by the Council proved there are no areas that exceed national guidelines. We are constantly looking to improve air quality in Bournemouth for the health of our residents.”

The Council is already undertaking various projects to improve air quality and full details can be viewed on in the Council’s Annual Status Report.