Air Quality Management Area
West Oxfordshire District Council is asking people for their views on a draft action plan for Witney’s Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).
The draft plan addresses nitrogen dioxide levels in the Witney AQMA, which includes Bridge Street and parts of High Street, Witan Way, Mill Street, West End, Newland and Broad Hill.
The management area was declared in 2005 and is concentrated on and around Bridge Street, which has a mix of residential and business properties. Monitoring tests have shown that nitrogen dioxide pollution levels within this area remain above national health standards and might continue to be exceeded without intervention. Tests have also identified traffic as the source of pollution.
Oxfordshire County Council, which is responsible for transport, has decided that the Cogges Link Road – connecting Witan Way to the Oxford Hill junction with Jubilee Way – should be the preferred development to address traffic flow around and within Witney. This will also address pollution levels as it has a duty to put forward measures to improve air quality.
The District Council’s draft action plan recognises the Cogges Link Road as a significant step towards dealing with pollution in the AQMA and also sets out ten other minor proposals to help reduce nitrogen dioxide levels.
Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Environment at the District Council, said: “It is important that steps are taken to improve the situation in Bridge Street. We recognise that the County Council believes that the Cogges Link Road is the most suitable option for relieving Witney’s traffic problems and that this should reduce the number of vehicles using Bridge Street, therefore positively impacting on pollution levels.
“There are supporting measures set out in the action plan and I would encourage residents and people who work or travel through the Bridge Street area to look at the draft action plan and give us their views.”
Consultation on the draft action plan is running throughout February. The plan can be viewed and comments made online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/airquality or at the Council’s Town Centre Shop in Welch Way, Witney or Elmfield Offices in New Yatt Road. Comments should be submitted to the Council by 28 February 2011.
Following consultation, the draft action plan will be agreed between the District and County Councils. It will then be submitted to the Government for final comment before publication.
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