Chester city centre's extended Air Quality Management Area is officially declared

22 May 2017

Tomorrow (23 May) Cheshire West and Chester Council will formally declare an expanded Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Chester that extends from the existing AQMA around the Boughton gyratory, to cover the area within the inner ring road.

Chester residents were asked for their views on the extended AQMA during a four-week consultation that ended on 17 April 2017.  No objections to the proposals were received.

The Council’s Director of Place Operations, Maria Byrne said: “The new AQMA covers an extensive area, to give the maximum benefit for Chester.  Tackling poor air quality and improving the health of our residents continues to be one of the Council’s top priorities. 

“This declaration is a statutory requirement and the Council must now proceed and develop an Air Quality Action Plan identifying potential measures to improve air quality and assessing their feasibility. 

“The Action Plan must be completed within 12 months of the AQMA declaration and will need input at a number of stages from a broad cross-section of the community including residents, local businesses, interest and stakeholder groups, as well as Councillors and Council officers.  Information about how and when this engagement will take place will be published soon.

“The Action Plan will be subject to a full 12-week consultation at the end of the process.”

This problem is not unique to the borough as councils across the UK have had to declare more than 700 AQMAs. The Council has been monitoring air pollution levels in and around Chester city centre for a number of years and recent monitoring, together with modelling carried out in 2016, has shown that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are now above permitted levels in a number of areas immediately adjacent to the inner ring road.

Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant produced by vehicles and other combustion sources that can result in poor health for people with pre-existing health issues; like lung or heart conditions, asthma or bronchial conditions.  If your health is good, the air pollution in Cheshire West is unlikely to have any short term health effects.

Map of the AQMA Map of the AQMA 

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