Camelford declared an Air Quality Management Area
After 3 years of work by Mayor Rob Rotchell, and subsequent months of campaigning by Cllr Claire Hewlett and The Camelford Clean Air Group, following a series of public consultations, meetings and vigorous emailing, the Camelford Clean Air Group has finally realised their aim, allowing the first few steps towards improving Camelford’s air quality to be made.
Following concerns raised by residents, the Camelford Clean Air Group contacted Cornwall Council, urging that something should be done quickly to get the town’s air quality back on track. Cornwall Council then asked residents for their views on declaring the town an ‘air quality management area’ (AQMA).
A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “Long term monitoring of air quality found that areas of Camelford have excessive levels of traffic related nitrogen dioxide (NO2), including Fore Street and High Street. Those who responded to the consultation agreed that action was needed to improve air quality.”
On Wednesday 4 January, the formal declaration of the air quality management area was made by Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities, Geoff Brown.
The council has said that a number of services will be working to produce an air quality action plan to improve air quality in the town. The draft of this will be published for further public consultation, which is expected to take between 12 and 18 months.
Claire has been working hard to push the need for an AQMA declaration with Cornwall Council, as well as MPs, including North Cornwall MP, Scott Mann (Con).
Claire said “I’m very pleased that Camelford has now been declared an air quality management area, as it means that Cornwall Council and Defra have offically acknowledged we have an air quality problem. The Clean Air Group have been working closely with Cornwall Council’s environmental protection team to get this far. Talking to people in town today, everyone is excited that something might actually happen.”
As part of the consultation, the council asked for residents and businesses to convey their ideas for improving air quality, and some of these will be investigated as part of a range of options before the final plan is published.
Claire is determined to move things forward more quickly, and to ensure Cornwall Council listen to local views when drawing up an action plan within the next year.
She said: “The next step is the development of an action plan to devise steps to improve the air quality. This plan is drawn up by Cornwall Council and Defra, and can take up to 18 months. The Clean Air Group will be doing their best to ensure that Camelford is kept at the top of everyone’s ‘to do’ list, to try and deliver the action plan earlier than 18 months.”
She added: “Most people consider a bypass to be the best solution, and the Clean Air Group will be enthusiastically supporting the views of the local people.”
Geoff Brown said: “Most of Cornwall has excellent air quality, but in a few specific locations where this is now the case, officers monitor air quality and the order will enable us to focus effort on working with the local community to find ways to improve the situation.”