The Annual Air Quality review confirms pollution continues to exceed government limits in certain areas of the city. This report findings will be heard at the Environment and Climate Change portfolio meeting next week.
Portsmouth City Council has reviewed the monitored data for 2019 and found that Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels in certain areas of the city exceed government limits. However, Particulate Matter continues to be below government limits.
Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change said “I am very concerned by the continuing high levels of NO2 in Portsmouth as this is the biggest environmental threat to public health. We must all take action to make the air we breathe cleaner for our health.”
During 2020, air pollution levels have been identified to be higher than government air quality objectives in parts of the following roads: London Road, Alfred Road, Hope Street, Southampton Road, Eastern Road, Commercial Road and Fratton Road.
The monitoring is carried out by five continuous monitoring stations and 154 tube locations. This is an increase of over 40 tubes in the last reporting year, to ensure a better understanding of air quality across more of the city. During 2020, further devices will be deployed to expand the understanding of pollution in Portsmouth.
The central government has required many cities across the UK to implement a Clean Air Zone, as they believe this will address air pollution in the shortest time possible. The consultation that will give everyone the opportunity to have their say on how the zone operates and how we can fairly support impacted drivers to replace or retrofit their polluting vehicles, launches 15 July 2020.
Cllr Ashmore, went on to say: “We believe funding from government could be used in better ways to improve air quality, including scrappage schemes for polluting cars, improving cycling networks and subsidising bus travel. However, government has told us to implement a zone and we want to make sure we do this in the best way possible for our city by giving everyone the opportunity to have their say in the consultation.”
During the lockdown earlier this year, Nitrogen Dioxide levels reduced for a short period of time as the amount of traffic on our roads temporarily reduced whilst people were following government guidance to stay at home. However, this will be included within next year’s review that will look at the impact of the whole year from before the pandemic through to the easing of restrictions that led to vehicles being back on the road. It is yet unknown how this will impact the air quality of Portsmouth.