The council is working to secure more ‘meaningful’ strategies from developers to mitigate pollution from new developments in Adur.
This is one of the actions outlined in the council’s recently published annual air quality report, which identifies the ‘main threat’ to air quality as ‘the number and scale of developments planned ... resulting in additional traffic on the strategic road network’.
The main threat to air quality comes from the number and scale of developments planned for the sub-region
The report also reveals the results from air monitoring tests during 2016.
The results found that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air remained below the annual objective – which is 40 micrograms per cubic metre – at most of the 23 sites monitored during the 12 month period.
An Adur District Council spokesman said this finding was ‘to be welcomed’.
The council now proposes revoking the designation of Old Shoreham Road in Southwick as a ‘pollution hotspot’ or Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), as the report found NO2 levels have consistently decreased since 2012.
However, overall the report revealed that levels of NO2 had increased at all sites since 2015, a trend that the spokesman acknowledged as ‘unwelcome’ but said reflected findings at some other monitoring sites in Sussex.
Setting out actions to improve air quality, the council pledged to work with the cross-council organisation Sussex-air to revise the Sussex Planning and Emissions Mitigation Guidance.
This guidance helps developers to assess the anticipated emissions from developments and create a mitigation strategy, which could include promoting cycling, car clubs and low emission vehicles.
The council hopes revising the guidance will place ‘a greater emphasis on obtaining meaningful mitigation’, which will reduce potential effects on health.
An environmental action group in Adur welcomed the publication of the council’s air quality report – but has also raised concerns.
Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) noted that air quality monitoring in Shoreham High Street, also designated a ‘pollution hotspot’ by the council, had been sporadic due to faulty equipment, which is now being replaced.
Barb O’Kelly, chairman of AREA, said: “With the approval of a minimum of 1,100 new homes along Shoreham Harbour and 74 at the Civic Centre, traffic and pollution will only increase.”
The group also pointed out that pollution levels on the New Monks Farm section of the A27, between the Sussex Pad and Withy Layby, were not monitored by the council.
The group said it had taken its own NO2 measurements along this stretch of road, which showed levels to be 36 per cent above the legal limit.
While AREA welcomed the proposed mitigation measures in the report – such as the installation of electric charge points – Mrs O’Kelly said: “Given the levels of traffic and air pollution, we question whether they will offer a reasonable solution to the problems facing the A259 and A27.”
Noting the rise in NO2 levels at all monitored sites, she added: “The upward trend will only increase with future planned development unless some effective road improvements are found.
“It is part of the developers’ commitment to mitigate for air pollution.
“They must be held to account for the sake of the health of all local people.”