If a Local Authority identifies any location within its boundary where a national Air Quality Objective is not likely to be achieved, it must declare the area an 'Air Quality Management Area' (AQMA). The objectives relate to areas where there is ‘relevant exposure’ - predominantly residential dwellings, but excluding pavements, shops and offices - to certain pollutants.
An AQMA may encompass just one or two properties, or it could be much bigger and include a whole District.
Once an AQMA has been created, the Local Authority is required to put together a plan to improve air quality in that area - a local 'Air Quality Action Plan' (AQAP). These are often created in partnership with the local Highways Authority. For Rochford, this is Essex County Council.
The Council has previously declared – and subsequently revoked- an AQMA at Rawreth Industrial Estate. Further information about that AQMA can be found on the next web page.
To view more information about all the AQMAs across Essex, please click on Essex Air in Related Content.
Air Quality in Rochford
Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. There is also often a strong correlation with equalities issues, because areas with poor air quality are also often the less affluent areas.
Rayleigh Town Centre AQMA
In 2015, Rochford District Council declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Rayleigh due to exceedances of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) from road traffic. This area extends from the Rayleigh Weir junction to - and encompassing - the Rayleigh Town Centre one-way system where congestion in the Town Centre and surrounding roads has long been an issue.
Monitoring across the district is carried out through the deployment of diffusion tubes at residences throughout the AQMA and at other locations of significance based upon historical data or potential for exceedance of an objective. Officers review monitoring locations annually using data trends and knowledge of issues which may adversely affect air quality, such as new developments or traffic routes.
UK Air Quality Plan for Nitrogen Dioxide (2017) For the purposes of the UK Air Quality Plan for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Defra undertook modelling to estimate NO2 concentrations in the different local authority areas in the UK. This modelling predicts that in Rochford, EU limit values are being exceeded on the A127 near the Rayleigh Weir junction, and forecasts that they will be exceeded up to around 2022.
Along the A127, there are other predicted exceedances at the Fortune of War junction in the borough of Basildon and along a stretch in Southend borough.
Air quality at this location is not within the remit of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) but the Council has worked with Essex County Council (the Highway Authority) and neighbouring Basildon Borough Council to develop a Strategic Outline Case for an Air Quality Management Plan for the A127 in March 2018 and to submit the Outline Business Case to Defra by 31st December 2018.