In April 2018 an AQMA (air quality management area) was declared in the centre of Herne at the Herne Street/School Lane junction. An AQMA is declared when an AQS (air quality strategy) objective is exceeded or likely to be exceeded. In this case NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) levels were observed to be constantly rising and predicted to exceed the annual mean objective. The main source of the pollution has been identified as coming from road traffic emissions.
Air pollution is recognised as a contributing factor to many illnesses including asthma, COPD, other lung and heart conditions. In Herne, there is an air quality ‘hotspot’ at the mini roundabout as a result of high traffic volumes with residential properties in close proximity to the roadside. There are over 11,000 vehicles travelling though the village per day and inevitable congestion in the centre of the village. This location is relatively low lying, the road widths and junctions are very narrow and the properties (C16th -C18th listed buildings) are very close to the road where the pollution is trapped.
Since declaration of the Herne AQMA, CCC (Canterbury City Council) have prepared an AQAP (air quality action plan) which sets out measures to reduce air pollution with mitigation measures – promoting the use of more sustainable forms of transport than private vehicle, car sharing, using bus services and where possible to cycle or walk. Other measures include provision of recharging points, promoting strategic routes for freight, running an anti-idling campaign and have recognised the delivery of the Herne Relief Road necessary to reduce the volume of traffic passing through the village.
They are working in partnership with KCC, transport operators,, schools and local businesses to promote measures that will mitigate the issue. CCC continue to monitor the NO2 levels in Herne, where they have increased exponentially and have set up three more stations near the location and the results from these will be analysed to monitor the extent of the air quality problem.
Thank you to Parish Cllr Julia Davison for compiling this report
Annual readings are published in April and ongoing information and monitoring results can be found on the Kentair website.