Answer to Question 8

The maximum safe annual average limit of NO2 set by the World Health Organisation is 10 µg/m3 – four times less than the UK limit.

The effects of air pollution on health – particularly for children and vulnerable people – are beyond doubt, so many towns and cities are making big changes to encourage walking and cycling and discourage driving.

But while our neighbours such as Leicester, Nottingham, Coventry, Oxford, and Birmingham are all well underway with these changes, in Northampton nothing is being done.

We should be encouraging walking and cycling by:

  • setting up School Streets, where streets with a school entrance are closed to traffic at pick-up and drop-off times
  • Improving our dangerous junctions to make it safe for people to cross, especially people with young children and those with disabilities
  • creating safe, segregated cycle routes all over the town

Here’s more from our Air Pollution expert:

In 2006 the air pollution was so bad that Northampton had to declare seven Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

The council was required to publish Air Quality Action Plans (AQAPs) within 12-18 months, but never did.

West Northants Council is now in the process of combining five of them into one AQMA. What are the chances of them publishing an action plan within the legally-required 12-18 months?