Bath and North East Somerset council has reported a reduction in Nitrogen Dioxide emissions across the borough of around 10% throughout 2017.
The improvement in air quality, follows a similar 8% reduction in NO2 emissions in 2016, the council claims.
According to the local authority, the Lambridge area of Bath has seen a larger drop of 23% in NO2 concentrations due to the extension of a bus lane to the A46 roundabout and the location of queuing traffic away from the roadside.
Similarly, in Keynsham High Street there has been a 15% decrease in NO2 concentrations following the introduction of a trial one-way system and in Saltford all the monitoring sites are below the objective of 40ug/m3.
However the council has said that this is not the case for the A37 in Temple Cloud and Farrington Gurney. Both of these locations are to be declared as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) and action plans drawn up, the council has confirmed.
Councillor Bob Goodman, the council’s cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said: “The council takes the issue of air quality seriously throughout the whole of Bath and North East Somerset and is taking action as rapidly as possible. The main pollutant is road traffic, which is exacerbated in Bath with the city being set in a valley which can trap the pollution.
“We are working on many measures including the introduction of a charging Clean Air Zone in the city, to rapidly improve the air we breathe but this also relies on individual actions because each one of us has a responsibility to take action to improve air quality.”
Council leader, Councillor Tim Warren, added: “While it is welcome news that there is a decrease in the levels of nitrogen dioxide in across the district more work is needed to reduce these levels even further because poor air quality is a serious public health risk to us all. We are working towards a cleaner Bath but this means everyone using more sustainable ways to travel.”
Three options for a potential charging Clean Air Zone have been outlined by the council, which could see pre-Euro 4 petrol engines and pre-Euro 6 diesel engines charged to drive within the specified zone in the centre of Bath.
Options being considered include a potential ‘Class B CAZ’ would see higher-emission buses, coaches, private hires, taxis and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) charged, or a ‘Class C CAZ’ which would extend a charge to include light goods vans.