Poor Air Quality & traffic problems on A6 through Kibworth Harcourt

Latest News – September 2018

The AQMA Action Plan for the A6 Kibworths has been published by HDC and can be found here http://www.harborough.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/4758/kibworth_air_quality_action_plan_2019-2031.pdf

In addition to the HDC Environmental Health officers discussing the Plan with both Kibworth Parish Councils (KBPC – 25 September, KHPC 4 October) two public drop-n sessions have been arranged in the Kibworth Grammar School Hall as follows –

  • Wednesday 24 October 2018 from 10am to 4pm
  • Tuesday 6 November 2018 from 10am to 4pm

Residents can have their say on the plan and its proposals at www.harborough.gov.uk/consultation 

News Update – June 2018

HDC have confirmed that following a successful procurement process, they are just completing the contract agreement work with legal services before placing an order for real-time air pollutant monitoring equipment for the A6 Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in the Kibworths.  This is excellent news.

This comes as another three months of Nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes have been released on the HDC website. The levels for January to March 2018 shows a declining trend but all above the well above the 40 µgm-3 threshold level, and therefore mirrors a similar trend in 2017.  These levels cannot be used to determine short term changes in air quality, but go towards the determination of the annual mean concentration.

2017 & 1st 3m of 2018 – A6 Kibworth air quality levels of nitrogen dioxide

February 2018

A6 Kibworth Nitrogen dioxide levels for 2016 & 2017

This graph uses the data from that published by Harborough District Council (HDC) on their Air & Pollution web pages. It now includes preliminary data for 24 months – all of 2016 and 2017. As can clearly be seen every month in 2017 had Nitrogen dioxide levels about the 40 µgm-3 threshold.  HDC applied to DEFRA for funding to purchase and install real-time pollution monitoring in December 2017. A response is due in March 2018.

December 2017

Publicity – On 16th December a small group of hardy locals stood outside the Coach & Horses pub on the A6 and held up a banner and posters so passing traffic could see them.

I have been in touch with HDC Environmental team about better data on air quality. At the public meeting in August a request was made for HDC to consider obtaining real-time air quality monitoring equipment. I understand a bid has been made by HDC to DEFRA. I look forward to the equipment being installed and the results, as the current monthly Nitrogen dioxide levels are only indicators of air pollutants.

November 2017

I submitted this report collating all the evidence to support a proposed A6 bypass for the Kibworths to the Director of the County Council Highways Directorate on 26th October.  A6 bypass evidence to LCC

Residents attended the Kibworth Harcourt Parish Council meeting on 2nd November to get an update from the previous month’s meeting and to continue to express ongoing concerns. I was able to confirm that the work to design and consult on three bollards to be installed on the A6 to prevent pavement mounting has been authorised and, if no major hiccups, could be installed early in the new year.

October 2017

Kibworth Harcourt Parish Council discussed the latest series of road traffic accidents on the A6 Kibworth Estate in Kibworth Harcourt at their meeting  on 5th October in the Kibworth Grammar School Hall. Although the parish council has no responsibility to resolve the problems, they can advise residents to collate evidence and then submit to the Highways and Local Authorities who have the statutory powers for infrastructure and air quality improvements.

The public meeting on 16th August was attended by about 100 people. Many local residents were unable to attend because it clashed with the summer holidays. In addition to questions being raised about the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) borders and extents, many people expressed concerns about the potential health problems from air pollution.  Dr  Rob Howard, a public health specialist from LCC, answered the questions pointing out that the health problems associated directly with Nitrogen dioxide have not been researched widely, as it is seen as a marker for the other pollutants e.g. particulate matter and sulphur dioxide. A request was made by DCllr King that HDC consider obtaining real-time air pollution monitoring equipment.

July 2017

Harborough District Council (HDC) will be carrying out a public consultation in the summer, ending 17 September 2017. There are two drop-in sessions for members of the public to meet with officers and ask questions prior to a public meeting and making any suggestions for improving the air quality.

The two drop-in sessions at Kibworth Grammar School Hall are as follows:

Wednesday 26th July 6pm-8pm
Thursday 27th July 10am-12 noon

The public meeting at the same venue starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th August 2017.

Documents about the air quality on the A6 through the Kibworths can be found at www.harborough.gov.uk/airquality

Nitrogen dioxide levels for the first four months of 2017 have now been added to the data on the HDC website, so this shows high levels in 15 of the 16 months to April 2017:

NO2 2016-17

June 2017

The HDC executive received an EXEMPT report on Monday 12 June 2017 entitled Declaration of Air Quality Management Area in Kibworth.  No details have been provided as to why this important report has been made Exempt i.e. not available for the public, although In understand all 36 district councillors have received a copy.  As I am the county councillor for the area including the Kibworth Ward, and also I am chairman of Kibworth harcourt Parish Council, I am very concerned that this report has not been made public, or even copied to myself. I am still covered by the various local government codes of conduct so if a valid reason for confidentiality is given, I would respect it. I have been briefed on other matters that were not in the public domain by HDC officers previously.

Rumours indicate the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) stretches from the big A6 / Wistow Road roundabout along the A6 through the Kibworths to the Church Road junction by the Coach & Horses pub.  There must be a dozen or more properties alongside that stretch who must be notified officially by HDC that they are living within the AQMA. If these haven’t yet been delivered, is this a reason for making the report exempt?

May 2017

Harborough District Council have commissioned professional help to measure the extent of the Nitrogen dioxide levels along and beside the A6 through the Kibworths.  I understand a report will be taken to the Executive meeting in early June, and anticipate the area being declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

March 2017

I approached HDC in February to ask for publication of the full 12 months of data for Nitrogen dioxide levels on the A6 through the Kibworths. The updated data was released in March. Some extra modelling work is being undertaken to assess the size of the high Nitrogen dioxide area.  The HDC Executive is due to have another update report on the air quality across the district in June , but I feel it is essential the data for the full 12 months is made public now that it is clear the A6 is significantly over capacity following publication of the Jacob’s Cumulative Traffic Impact study.

The Facade corrected BIAS average Nitrogen dioxide levels for the 12 months of 2016 are over 55 µgm-3

The November 2016 raw level was 109 µgm-3 which is more than double the UN recommended level and means people walking alongside and living alongside the A6 are breathing dangerous levels of this pollutant.

NO2-2016 v2

November 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I requested that HDC update their online record for the monthly average Nitrogen dioxide measurements. They declined but D Cllr King intervened and reinforced the request at a more senior level. The last four complete months of data were put onto the HDC website on 28 October.  All of the four new readings are above the Air Quality Objective of 40 µgm-3 . This now means eight of the nine monthly readings are above the AQO.  The four readings are Jun (74), Jul (68), Aug (70) and Sep (67).  The Facade corrected BIAS for the nine months in 2016 is 51.88, so if this remains well above the 40 level, then HDC would be expected to declare this section of the A6 through the Kibworths to be an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).  The readings for this section of the A6 are higher than those in the middle of the only other AQMA in the district – centre of Lutterworth.

NewNO2

On 2 November, the Government lost a Supreme Court case brought by a campaign group called ClientEarth about the length of time it was taking to complete and implement an Air Quality Plan (AQP).  Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokeswoman told reporters: “We are accepting today’s court judgment and will consider now the details and set out next steps in due course.”  The Government had been planning on ensuring all Clear Air Zones met the Nitrogen dioxide AQO by 2025, but although they argue they can do this by 2020, the campaigners are pressing for earlier outcomes. Initial suggestions are to make a charge for all diesel vehicles entering Clean Air Zones.

Background

Under the Environment Act 1995 Harborough District Council has a duty to assess air quality and take action to improve local air quality issues. Where exceedences are considered likely, the local authority must then declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and prepare an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) setting out the measures it intends to put in place in pursuit of the objectives.

Whilst HDC have been monitoring air quality in the Kibworths for several years, at the beginning of 2015 they moved one of the diffusion tubes which was constantly giving very low results to a new location on Leicester Road, Kibworth Harcourt, and at the end of the year (November) an additional tube was also put in place near 64 Leicester Road. Most of the 2016 monthly readings of nitrogen dioxide from these tubes on the A6 in the middle of Kibworth Harcourt have been higher than the Air Quality Objective (AQO) of less than 40 micrograms per cubic metre (40 µgm-3). The levels of nitrogen dioxide (mainly created by burning fossil fuels e.g. car and lorry exhausts) do fluctuate during the year and are influenced by weather conditions. However the results for the first 6 months of 2016 do show that there is the potential for the objective not to be met and further work will be required to determine the extent of the exceedance.

Published readings on the A6 in Kibworth Harcourt for 2016 have been: Jan (93.9), Feb (44), Mar (76.1), Apr (39.4), May (66.3) which gives a mean of 63.94µgm-3  but when this is bias adjusted, the new mean is 51.79µgm-3 which is still considerably higher than the objective.

Following discussions with experts in this area of work, the recommendation by HDC is to continue monitoring at the current locations on the A6 in Kibworth Harcourt until there is 12 months of reliable data (i.e. by December 2016). In addition a further 2 diffusion tubes will be located in the area to help determine the extent of the problem. If the annual average levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed the national air quality objectives, it will be necessary to declare an Air Quality Management Area. Prior to declaring an AQMA it may be necessary to undertake some dispersion modelling to determine the extent of the AQMA. It is anticipated that HDC will have sufficient information to determine the next steps in spring 2017 and a further report will go to the Executive for approval.