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Middlesbrough's air quality given green light

Air pollution levels across Middlesbrough sites have been found to be within national guidelines.

A Clean Air Strategy for the borough is now being drawn up to show the Council’s commitment to ensure Middlesbrough’s air is as clean as it can be and that the health of the public is protected.

The findings follow extensive work undertaken in the borough to address concerns that NO2 levels were exceeding national standards in the Central, Newport and Ayresome wards.

In July, 2017 Middlesbrough was identified as one of 28 local authorities required to address NO2 levels, with air quality modelling suggesting two sections of the A66 were higher than the national legal standard.

However local air quality modelling has shown NO2 levels at the two locations to be lower than the national modelling predictions, and in October the Council submitted an outline business case to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) who have agreed that no further NO2 reduction measures are required.

The Council is now working with partners across both Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland to develop a Clean Air Strategy for the South Tees area, due to be published by the end of April. 

The partnership will ensure air quality considerations are built into key areas including planning, transport strategies and the procurement of council fleet vehicles.

Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “As a local authority one of our priorities is to ensure that the air in Middlesbrough is as clean as it can possibly be for all our residents, and visitors to the city centre.

“The national modelling was clearly a matter of considerable concern, but I’m grateful to our officers for the enormous amount of work that helped to show that we remain within the permitted limits.

“Air quality will be continuously monitored, and action will be taken to address any issues as they arise.

“The Clean Air Strategy is a vital part of that process, and will help to protect the health and wellbeing of Middlesbrough’s residents and reduce the risk that air quality standards will deteriorate to a level which may exceed national standards.”

A report on the findings of the local air quality modelling exercise will be considered at a meeting of Middlesbrough Council’s Executive on Friday, February 22.