IMPROVEMENTS in air quality in Ellesmere Port and Frodsham mean Cheshire West and Chester Council could be about to revoke the air quality management areas (AQMA) for both towns.

The Council is proposing that both schemes be closed after evidence of significant improvements in the amount of nitrogen dioxide present at both locations.

The Ellesmere Port (Whitby Road/Station Road) AQMA was implemented to address road traffic related nitrogen dioxide (NO2) affecting residential properties on parts of Whitby Road, Station Road and Princes Road.

The Frodsham AQMA was declared in 2015, also due to NO2 from road vehicles, and covers a small number of residential properties on Fluin Lane and High Street (A56) in Frodsham.

According to the Environment Act 1990 and guidance, an AQMA can be revoked if a review demonstrates that air quality objectives are being met and there is confidence that they will continue to be met.  Air quality objectives are limits on the acceptable presence of pollutants in the atmosphere established to protect human health and the environment.

The Council say that a review of current and historical monitoring data has shown that the roadside concentrations of NO2 have declined significantly since the initial declaration of the AQMAs in both Ellesmere Port and Frodsham. Air quality in the AQMAs is demonstrably compliant with the objectives as there have been no exceedances for five years.

National air quality monitoring data follows a similar trend to that observed locally. Furthermore, predictions of future trends in NO2 show that a recurrence of exceedances of the air quality objectives in the AQMAs is highly improbable.

When the Ellesmere Port AQMA was created, the annual mean NO2 was measured at 44.5 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) – as of 2022, the last full calendar year for which ratified monitoring result are available, the level stood at 29.2 μg/m3.

Similarly, Frodsham had a annual mean level of 41.5 μg/m3 when its AQMA was created, this has declined to a maximum of 28.4 μg/m3 at the last count.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes, Planning and Safer Communities, Councillor Christine Warner said: “Air pollution is associated with several 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, the elderly, and those with existing heart and lung conditions.

“Ongoing reviews of air quality in two of the Council’s Air Quality Management Areas for Whitby Road/Station Road in Ellesmere Port and Fluin Lane in Frodsham; have shown evidence to revoke this status.

“The Council is confident that compliance has been and will continue to be achieved.  However, monitoring of NO2 will continue at worst-case locations in the current AQMAs to confirm that ambient levels of the pollutant remain compliant with the national objectives and to gauge improvements in local air quality over time.

“We’re currently asking residents to get in touch with us if they have any views on this proposal and further details are available on the Council's website.”