Totton Air Quality
I have received the first formal notice that officers at New Forest District Council are recommending that the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) status for the centre of Totton is revoked.
This is a photo of the machine, near the train gates in Junction Road, that captures air pollutants, regularly monitored by Environmental Health officers.
The area was designated an AQMA when it was found that the air was dangerously polluted, a real threat to public health.
The designation means that the council are legally obliged to keep monitoring the area and to try and take steps to reduce pollution, (mainly emissions from traffic that often queues up at the train gates).
In recent years, the results have shown lower levels of pollution.
I don’t think this is because of any actions undertaken by the council but more to do with improvements in cars.
These days, cars tend to have less polluting engines with better exhaust systems. However, there is still a major concern about diesel emissions, both from cars and lorries.
Technically, the council are permitted to revoke the AQMA, but does this mean it is the right thing to do ?
A couple of weeks ago, the Regulatory Committee of Hampshire County Council approved a planning application at Marchwood that will add to the number of lorry movements, not just in the village, but passing close by to the AQMA, along the A35 towards Southampton.
We might well see even more lorry movements when Marchwood military port is developed commercially.
I would sooner have the protection of an AQMA in place.
It means that NFDC HAVE to keep monitoring.
It also helps resist planning applications that lead to more traffic in and around the area.