Derbyshire Dales on Countryfile

October 11, 2020 10:12 AM
By Peter Dobbs

Ashbourne gets a mention on BBC Countryfile - as UK air pollution hot-spot

Screen grab BBC Countryfile Oct 4th 2020For the second time this year Ashbourne finds itself in the media. The first was In June when some of the town's residents decided that they needed to 'protect' a pub sign after a petition was launched calling for it it to be removed on the grounds that it was racially offensive.

The second was In October for being one of the UK's top pollution hot-spots. It is listed by Friends of the Earth as one of at least 1700 locations breaking air quality targets using data from DDDC's 2019 ASR. It was used in BBC1's Countryfile broadcast on 4th October 2020 as a example of how rural England can also be plagued with air pollution, just like our cities. The programme focussed particularly on a section of the A35 that passes through the village of Chideock in Dorset.

Buxton Road in Ashbourne shares many of the features that make Chideock one of the worst locations in the UK for air quality. There is a busy main road, a hill, and houses close to the road that create a 'canyon' - all this causes the pollutants generated to remain trapped rather being dispersed.

As the programme pointed out, it is not only the nitrogen oxide gases from vehicle exhausts that create a hazard for local residents. Tyres and brakes are also generating the potentially even more hazardous tiny particulates, referred to as PM2.5 and PM10 depending on their size. This means that even vehicles with modern engines are not 'hazard free'.

There are currently no measurements on levels of particulate pollution taking place in Derbyshire Dales.

There has been no Air Quaility Management Area established on Buxton Road in Ashbourne, despite repeated requests from residents.