Councillors say Portsmouth's air quality is '˜improving' despite '˜serious concerns'

COUNCILLORS have said Portsmouth's air quality is improving despite warnings from a health expert that the city has a '˜serious problem'.

Fears have been raised about Portsmouth's air quality
Fears have been raised about Portsmouth's air quality

Portsmouth was issued with the foreboding warning last month by Dr Janet Maxwell, the director of public health at Portsmouth City Council, that air pollution in the city is reaching ‘an unsafe level’.

Dr Maxwell’s warning came after the air quality level in the city exceeded the nitrogen dioxide guideline set by the government and the EU of 40 micrograms per cubic metre on four occasions last year.

Portsmouth’s air quality is measured through diffusion tubes and four of the city’s roads broke the guideline levels last year.

Diffusion tubes read the air pollution levels in the immediate surrounding area, although this data can be affected by wind and topography.

City councillors discussed the situation at a meeting in the Guildhall yesterday.

Ukip councillor Julie Swan said that despite the four highlighted roads, air quality in the city is ‘improving’.

She said: ‘I think it’s important that rather than carry out scaremongering we need to highlight that the diffusion survey levels (DSL) across the city are decreasing.

‘This is a very good sign. Of course there are a couple of places that aren’t as good, but the city is improving.’

The four roads highlighted as breaking the guidelines were Lord Montgomery Way in Southsea, Stanley Road in Stamshaw, Kingston Road in Buckland and London Road in North End.

Stanley Road proved to be the worst, recording a nitrogen dioxide measurement of 46.06ug/m3.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the cabinet member for public health added: ‘We know that there are areas that are worse than others and are proving difficult to solve.

‘However, some of these problems will resolve themselves and there have been a lot of changes put in place.’