Plans to improve Kettering’s air quality levels

Kettering's most polluted road at the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road. NNL-180711-105913005
Kettering's most polluted road at the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road. NNL-180711-105913005

Kettering Council is planning to improve air quality levels across the borough by introducing electric charging points to car parks and changing traffic measures on its most polluted road.

Additional monitoring is being brought in at the junction of Bowling Green Road and London Road which is recording the highest levels of nitrogen oxide of anywhere in the town.

The high levels are just tipping the government’s acceptable level of 40.µg/m3  which means the council will now have to file a report to Defra about how it plans to reduce the pollution levels.

Speaking at the council’s audit and monitoring committee last night (Tuesday) environmental services manager Jon Hall said the main cause of air pollution in the town was traffic congestion and that the council had increased the number of monitoring sites across the borough from eight last year to 19 this year.

He said: “What we now need to establish is the area of pollution at London Road. Additional monitoring is going to be taking place and we are planning to map the nitrogen oxide levels around that area.

“The results will then be analysed for this year and it is very likely we will declare it an air quality management area.

“It is quite obvious what we need to do.

“It is a congestion issue – the chances are we will change the traffic flow through traffic lights.

“We have already notified NCC of the issues with the hope they can start some work now.”

The officer also said that six electric charging units will be put in to three town centre car parks.

The authority has bid and is hopeful that it will receive funding to pay for the charging points.

Figures from 18 months ago reported there were 250 electric car owners in the borough and the figure is thought to have risen since then.

The air pollution issue was brought before the council committee after a campaign to officers by Labour councillor Anne Lee. She has concerns about the impact  the air pollution is having on residents’ health.

Conservative councillor Paul Marks said the national agendas of development, which led to more cars on the road and reducing air pollution were in contradicting each other.

Chairman of the meeting Labour councillor Jonathan West requested that a letter was sent to the council’s ruling conservative executive highlighting the issue and their concern.

Sarah Ward, Local Democracy Reporting Service