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It's Official - Ashbourne is Polluted

March 31, 2021 7:03 PM
By Peter Dobbs
Traffic on St John's St Ashbourne (Peter Dobbs)

St John's St Ashbourne

After more than three years a situation that was first recorded in autumn 2017 is finally being officially acknowledged; air quality on Buxton Road Ashbourne does not meet national standards.

The Officer Report for the Community and Environment Meeting on April 7th recommends that Derbyshire Dales Distrcit Council declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for a significant part of the centre of Ashbourne.

This raises some important questions.

1. How can we make sure the District Council acts faster in future?

Lib Dems are proposing a revised approach to air pollution monitoring that should speed up the Council's response to any suggestion of air quality issues. You can find the outline here.

If there is one key lesson from Covid-19 it is that you need to actively test and use that data to predict a pattern so you can act in a timely manner.

2. What happens next on Buxton Road and St John's Street?

Now that this has been declared an AQMA, the District Council, working with the County Council and others, have a duty to devise an action plan (AQAP) that will provide a way to reduce the pollution to an acceptable level. Commendably, the District Council have set themselves a target of March 2022 to put this in place. 

Clearly building a by-pass CANNOT be the entirety of a plan which has to start working in months not years.

Many people have made suggestions about what might work and most involve some level of restrictions.The Traffic Group on Ashbourne Town Team have made suggestions that you can find in their Traffic Discussion Paper here with detailed drawings here.(They are large files - be patient with the download!).

However, it must be acknowledged that, like the changes we need to counter climate change, we all have a part to play and we cannot simply make the solution entirely someone else's responsibility.