Monitoring of air quality in the Castlegate area of Penrith is to be stepped up, Eden councillors have been told.
In 2012, after high levels of nitrogen dioxide were measured at Eamont Bridge, Castlegate and along Bridge Lane and King Street, Eden Council employed consultants to undertake a detailed assessment using computer modelling of the roads and the other likely industrial emission sources.
“The only street that is now of concern is Castlegate,” a meeting of Eden’s overview and scrutiny committee was told.
Sara Watson, principal environmental health officer, in a report to the meeting, said: “We know that vehicles going uphill at a slow speed are sometimes idling, and the houses alongside located very close to the carriageway are likely to lead to increased levels of pollutants.”
The environmental protection team has bought two pieces of monitoring equipment which will be located on lamp posts.
These will record real-time levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can be displayed on Eden Council’s website.
Officers are in correspondence with the county council to seek their approval to install the equipment on two lamp columns.
An annual status report, issued by Defra, in December, 2019, said Eden Council had no air quality areas (AQMAs) declared, but the authority was considering introducing one in Castlegate due to regular breaches of annual mean nitrogen dioxide concentration levels.
“Establishing the extent of the affected area and designating the AQMA with an associated appropriate action plan would be the next steps for the council to undertake,” the report states.
“Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer.
Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society — children and older people and those with heart and lung conditions,” said Ms Watson’s report.