Kettering's most polluted road revealed

Kettering's most polluted road at the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road.
Kettering's most polluted road at the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road.

The identity of Kettering’s most polluted road has been revealed.

The air at the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road has the highest concentration of nitrogen oxide of anywhere in Kettering and the levels are just hitting the mark which means that Kettering Council will now have to take action.

All councils are required by law to monitor air pollution levels across their towns and monthly monitoring throughout last year and 2018 has identified the busy road in Kettering town centre as the biggest offender for poor air quality.

The pollution issue is being brought to a public committee for discussion next week (Nov6) after a campaign to officers by Labour councillor Anne Lee who is very concerned about the impact the issue could be having on public health.

She said: “In the three years that I have been a councillor I cannot remember the issue being publicly discussed and it is something that is causing me great concern.

“Air pollution is one of the top ten factors that can impact on people’s health and it is something that the council needs to address.

“I live nearby to London Road and walk through the area on my way into town you can smell the pollution in the air.”

The councillor, who represents the Pipers Hill Ward, says she wants to work with Kettering Council on coming up with some ways to tackle the problem and is looking at other areas of best practice where authorities have introduced measures to make a difference.

Nitrogen dioxide is produced by car emissions and there is evidence that high levels of it can inflame the airways in people’s lungs and lead to cardiovascular problems.

The authority uses diffusion tubes to measure the air quality and average readings at the Bowling Green Road and London Road junction were 40.2µg/m3. The objective level is 40.µg/m3.

However throughout 2017 according to Kettering Council’s data the pollution level at the hotspot area was often above this with a level of 57.3 2µg/m3 recorded in September.

The authority will have to identify the area as an air quality management area if levels do not reduce.

The council’s annual air quality assessment report published in April this year which looked at 2017 data said: “The main source of air pollution in Kettering’s district is road traffic, with the main pollutant of concern being nitrogen dioxide. There has been no overall upwards trend in nitrogen dioxide levels with concentrations overall remaining below the air quality objective. However, in two locations there was an increase.”

The section of the A6 opposite the Old Bank in Rothwell town centre was the other location that saw an increase.

A prolonged traffic diversion because of a fractured gas pipe caused more traffic in the area. The average pollution levels recorded were 38.5µg/m3.

The report also said Kettering borough’s new housing developments are likely to increase local traffic congestion in the town and so the council needs to look at schemes to reduce the air quality impact.

The report said: “The district continues to expand rapidly with the development of large housing estates and mixed use estates such as the East Kettering Urban Extension. These estates were assessed at the planning application stage for their impact on air quality which was judged to be insignificant in accordance with EPUK guidance. However, the additional traffic that these developments bring to the area is likely to lead to more local congestion, and the council is looking to implement air quality initiatives to reduce the impact before an air quality management areas becomes necessary.”

Congestion in Kettering is particularly bad at the moment due to a number of different road works.

This week the World Health Organisation warned that average air pollution levels across the UK breached the level that it regards safe.

Air quality will be discussed by Kettering Council’s monitoring and audit committee at its Bowling Green Road offices at 7pm.