Major Portsmouth road is breaking air quality rules

ONE of Portsmouth's busiest roads is breaching targets for pollution levels, a new report reveals.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 28th September 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 29th September 2017, 5:15 pm
London Road in Hilsea
London Road in Hilsea

London Road, which runs into Kingston Road and Fratton Road in Fratton has been found to be a major trouble spot – with the blame being put on high levels of traffic congestion.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) at the junction between Laburnum Grove and Chichester Road along London Road in North End were found to be breaching the national target over the course of last year.

Pollution is measured by the number of particles of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per cubic metre of air (µg/m3).

London Road in Hilsea

Authorities need to comply with national air quality objective (NAQO) of 40µg/m3 with the NO2 annual mean for the station at 41.21µg/m3.

City council officers have predicted that a 15 per cent drop in road nitrogen oxide emissions along the route is needed for Portsmouth to reach the standard by 2020.

The city council’s air quality annual status report found that despite the problems along the London Road corridor, a drop in the level of NO2 has been found across several key monitoring locations.

Portsmouth was recently taken off a government watch-list of UK towns and cities – which includes Fareham – required to form plans on how to cut emissions.

London Road in Hilsea

The council is developing its own air quality plan to detail the specific measures needed to tackle NO2 levels.

Councillor Robert New, the cabinet member for environment said: ‘Air quality is an issue of the utmost importance and the council works hard to improve the situation.

‘London Road is one area where we need significant improvement but it is important that we look for solutions that will work across the whole city, including encouraging people to move to more sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport.

Cllr New also stressed that there are ‘limits to what can be achieved’ in regards to mitigating the effect of vehicles on air pollution with vehicles accounting for 55 per cent of NO2 in the city.

The report – which is required by law and will be sent to Defra – came after health experts revealed that air pollution causes an estimated health burden equivalent to 100 deaths a year in Portsmouth in the annual public health report last week.

Rachel Hudson, from Portsmouth Friends of the Earth, said: ‘The level of air pollution in the city is a natural problem because we have got too many cars in the area.

‘What this report shows is that something needs to be done in order to meet this 15 per cent reduction down the London Road corridor.

‘Portsmouth has always put cars first instead of other transport options such as cycling and walking. This needs to change.

‘As a waterfront city, we could be a shining example but we just need to have higher aspirations for our air quality as it is a very serious issue.’

The council’s 10-year air quality strategy was passed by Cllr New earlier this summer.

A plan detailing the various measures needed will be published later this year.