Air quality

Thanet District Council has been monitoring air pollutants since 1993. In 1997 we joined the Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership. This is a county-wide initiative to pool information, knowledge and data to enable long term planning across Kent, and to enable pollution trends to be monitored. A website has been set up, dedicated to improving public information about local air pollution. kentair.org.uk/

The council reviews monitoring results at 42 sites across Thanet and assesses these data against national air quality objectives for specific pollutants. We submit an Annual Status Report to Defra every year for review.

Air pollution comes from many sources and can travel long distances. Emissions from both distant and local sources can build up into high concentrations of pollution in a particular area. Air quality is the largest environmental health risk in the UK; it shortens lives and contributes to chronic illness [Government Clean Air Strategy 2019]. Although Thanet has good air quality overall, there are some areas, notably along busy roads, where pollution levels are high at certain times of the day. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions should take extra care; Defra’s website UK-Air has lots of helpful information on pollution forecasts and health advice.

Data in the annual status reports show that there have been no exceedances of the health objectives across the district for several years. The downward trend in pollution levels looks set to continue, helped by improvements in vehicle emissions standards and the forthcoming ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans in 2035, and the sale of hybrid vehicles from 2035. The government is investing £1.3 billion to improve electric vehicle infrastructure across the UK.

Although monitoring data has not shown any exceedances in Thanet for several years, a detailed assessment was undertaken at two road junctions that have previously exceeded objectives for nitrogen dioxide, using dispersion modelling and traffic data to predict pollution levels. The assessment focussed on heavily trafficked former pollution hotspots at Birchington Square and St Lawrence High Street, Ramsgate. The results have predicted a risk of exceedance of the nitrogen dioxide annual air quality objective from the St Lawrence roundabout along the A255 to Shah Place and an ‘Air Quality Management Area has been declared.

Monitoring within this area has been increased to determine whether real world conditions do reflect modelling results. An Action Plan that focuses on reducing pollution in this area will be developed while also continuing to work towards cutting public exposure across the district.

Current Urban Air Quality Management Area

Review and Assessment Reports

Air Quality Guide for Developers

See also

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