Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet members have received an update on air quality and measures being taken to improve it.
The 2021 Annual Air Quality Progress Report, which was presented to Cabinet members today (Tuesday), has confirmed that, in general, air quality within Bridgend County Borough continues to meet Welsh Government objectives.
It also highlights that as an effect of the various coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and prohibition of non-essential travel in 2020, concentration levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped 22 per cent across the county borough.
However, Park Street in Bridgend remains a concern with monitoring undertaken at sites located along the street showing average levels of nitrogen dioxide continuing to exceed the annual average air quality objective.
In January 2019, the local authority officially implemented the county’s first Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) Order in Park Street after tests showed nitrogen dioxide levels were above national air quality objectives. The levels are attributed to inconsistent traffic flows and vehicles queuing on the road.
Since then, work has been ongoing to address the concerns in a number of ways.
As part of a draft Air Quality Action Plan which is being put together by Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) on behalf of the local authority to address the concerns, experts have been assessing a package of mitigation measures.
These include denying access onto St Leonards Road, introducing a four-phase junction at the Heol-y-Nant turning and improving the junction between Park Street, Angel Street and Tondu Road.
So far, early transport modelling results show that a four-phase junction at the Heol-y-Nant turning is unlikely to help improve air quality as a result of queueing traffic with work now taking place on assessing the remaining two options.
Once the outcomes of the modelling work have been analysed, the Air Quality Action Plan will be subject to public consultation.
Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, said: “Due to unprecedented circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, monitoring and modelling work had to be temporarily delayed with the draft Air Quality Action Plan now due to be submitted to Welsh Government by the end of March 2022.
“Once all the detailed monitoring and analysis has taken place, we will receive a further update and residents will be consulted for their views on the action plan.”
Earlier this year, a new air quality monitoring station was installed in the grounds of the Quaker Meeting House in Park Street, providing real-time data for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.
The data collected is being used to build a clearer understanding for pollutant trends, and to inform the effectiveness of any measure implemented to improve air quality in the area.
The monitoring data for Park Street can be viewed at the Air Quality in Wales website.