Given I’ve developed asthma in my 50s while living down in the SW, it’s interesting that the Government department DEFRA has just approved Torridge Councils annual Air Quality report for the district which has judged the quality to be generally “very good”. The quality may be good though some of the smells make me and others gag.
Air quality has been very much in the news of late, often for negative reasons. Poor quality air is often seen as a contributing factor in the onset of chronic diseases such as heart problems and cancer and in other areas has a particular effect on the more vulnerable such as younger children and the elderly.
A significant factor in the latest report is that Torridge has not needed to declare any Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) for any pollutant. As in many areas of the country, the main potential pollutant is nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from vehicular traffic. However the latest monitoring in Torridge has shown that all air quality objectives have been met and in fact, in the last 8 years, there has been a slight decrease in NO2 levels. All of this has been achieved despite significant residential and commercial development in the area.
Air quality assessments and management schemes for all major developments, and making sure the Councils own vehicles comply with the latest legislation are just a few of the ways in which the Council have achieved such good results. New initiatives include the installation of Electric Vehicle Charging points and Cycle schemes to reduce car emissions further.
Councillor Ken James – Lead Member for Environmental Services said:
“I’m pleased that DEFRA has acknowledged that air quality across our district is second to none, making this yet another reason that Torridge is a great place to live, work and visit. Air quality monitoring is just one of many vital functions our environmental health team carry out to help keep our residents safe and healthier. We are rightfully proud of our environment and through our monitoring and active involvement in new building and development TDC will continue to protect and promote it”