Quality of air to be monitored in Whittlesey
PUBLISHED: 12:05 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010
Fenland District Council is declaring an Air Quality Management Area in Whittlesey next month, as required by Government legislation. The council has a responsibility to monitor areas where there is a possibility that sulphur dioxide levels in the air ha
Fenland District Council is declaring an Air Quality Management Area in Whittlesey next month, as required by Government legislation.
The council has a responsibility to monitor areas where there is a possibility that sulphur dioxide levels in the air have the potential to exceed stringent national standards; and it is writing to Whittlesey residents to spell out its obligations and reassure them that there is no cause for concern.
The main source of sulphur dioxide in the local area are the brickworks at Whittlesey where computer simulations show that levels may have exceeded the national standard, but to date none has been found by the continuous monitoring equipment installed around the site.
The council is working with the brickworks operators, Hanson Building Products, as well as the Health Authority and the Environment Agency in order to ensure the risk of air pollution in Whittlesey is minimised.
The council's letter to residents will provide a point of contact if they have any concerns and the public are able to view a detailed map of the Air Quality Management Area in the Whittlesey Fenland @ your service shop.
The UK has more stringent standards governing sulphur dioxide than the rest of Europe and bodies such as the council and Environment Agency are always looking to make further reductions in pollution levels.
Short term episodes of severe exposure to sulphur dioxide are only likely to affect people with pre-existing respiratory problems such as bronchitis or asthma.
Councillor Peter Murphy, portfolio holder with responsibility for environmental health, said: "We will be monitoring and reviewing the data provided by Hanson Building Products and we will then be working with the company and the Environment Agency to look at ways of minimising the effects of any increases in pollution."
Trevor Poole, of Hanson Building Products, said: "We are presently complying with both the European and more stringent national limits for sulphur dioxide gas emissions. In fact no exceedances of either standard have been recorded at all this year and our performance is well within the targets set.
"We believe that as more detailed monitoring information becomes available it will show that the computer simulations are pessimistic and will permit the authorities to lift the requirement for an air quality management area altogether. Notwithstanding this, we are always looking for ways to reduce the impact from our operations over and above legislative requirements and we will continue to work with the Environment Agency and Fenland District Council to ensure we are doing everything possible to minimise the effects of the sulphur dioxide emissions.