Air quality improves in Shoreham and Southwick

Released: Tuesday, 13 February 2024

The air quality at two of the busiest areas in Shoreham and Southwick has significantly improved, making Adur a healthier place to live and work.

In 2005, Adur District Council introduced Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) at High Street in Shoreham and at Old Shoreham Road (the A270) in Southwick, which required us and our partners to take action to improve air quality for our communities.

But following an improvement in air quality at both sites, we have received government approval to revoke the two AQMAs.

The busy and popular roads in Shoreham and Southwick were originally identified due to their high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - the main cause of which is road traffic.

Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide have been found to cause damage to people's respiratory system and increase their vulnerability to developing or worsening respiratory infections and asthma. It has also been shown to affect those with existing heart conditions.

The current legal level for NO2 is 40 micrograms/m³. In 2005, levels at High Street in Shoreham and Old Shoreham Road (A270) were measured at 46 micrograms/m³ and 48 micrograms/m³ respectively.

As a result, we produced an air quality action plan for these areas, identifying what actions could be taken to help improve air quality. Some actions involved West Sussex County Council, which is responsible for all roads other than the A27 in the area.

To achieve national NO2 objectives, we worked with our partners to introduce a reduction in emissions from the local bus fleet and improved walking and cycling facilities. We have also worked with developers to implement travel plans that mitigate the impact of new developments in the district.

Local schools worked to increase cycling and walking to school and we worked with Sustrans, the custodian of the National Cycle Network, to facilitate this through a Sussex-air grant awarded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Alongside this work, the nation's car fleet has been getting steadily cleaner over recent years as emissions standards have tightened.

These actions have led NO2 levels at High Street and Old Shoreham Road to fall well below the annual mean objective, meaning the management areas can be revoked.

The latest confirmed data measured levels of nitrogen dioxide at Shoreham and Southwick's AQMAs at 24 micrograms/m³ and 25 micrograms/m³ respectively.

The Southwick AQMA has complied with the annual target for almost 10 years, while Shoreham's AQMA has shown five years of compliance. This resulted in Defra recommending we revoke both AQMAs.

We are committed to further improving the environment for the district and are producing a strategy which will outline our vision to further improve air quality. The plan will feature potential steps to better manage traffic flow, expand the number of car clubs, collaborate with bus operators to further reduce emissions from the local bus fleet, improve walking and cycling routes, increase the number of EV charging stations and more.

Cllr Kevin Boram, Adur's cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said:

“The results show that the big steps we have taken forward in recent years to make our district cleaner and more environmentally-friendly are really making an impact.

“Along with our partners, we need to keep improving the district's air quality to ensure local people have the cleanest air possible to breathe, and that they have the local infrastructure available to them to make greener lifestyle choices. This will include working with developers through the planning process to develop and implement travel plans to ensure the impact of new developments are mitigated as much as practically possible.”

Importantly, we will continue to monitor NO2 and Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in the district using diffusion tubes and the continuous monitoring site in High Street, Shoreham. We will use this data to target local air quality improvements where they are needed.

Photo: High Street, Shoreham

High Street, Shoreham

(PR24-023)

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Page last updated: 11 April 2024

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