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Air Quality Management Area at Keycol Hill

By Mrs Wendy Licence Newington Parish Council

Friday, 11 September 2020


Newington Parish Council Contributor


Important Information from Swale Borough Council

Dear Resident,

We are proposing to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) along Keycol Hill in Sittingbourne following recorded nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels that exceed the Governments annual mean objective of 40ug/m3.

Alongside local authorities across the country, we are legally required under the Environment Act 1995 to monitor the air quality across the borough and declare AQMA’s when pollution exceeds nationally set limits.

The legislation sets out both short and long term air quality objectives for NO2. The short-term objective applies to where people spend short periods of time in outdoor areas such as busy shopping streets. NO2 levels rarely exceed the recommended limit of the short-term air quality objective and there are none at Keycol Hill. The long-term objective is based on the average level of NO2 over a full year. This mainly applies at residential properties.

We commissioned an air quality modelling assessment across Key Street and Keycol Hill to determine if an AQMA was required and the results showed that NO2 levels will likely exceed the long-term objective on Keycol Hill but not Key Street.

Pollution levels increase where there is stop-start traffic and queuing, uphill gradients, and narrow streets with buildings/ barriers (i.e. walls and vegetation) on either side which can prevent the pollution from dispersing and give rise to the so called ‘street canyon’ effect.

The main cause of elevated NO2 levels at Keycol Hill is traffic emissions. The number of vehicles that use the road is high and the uphill gradient can result in higher emissions from vehicles. The road along Keycol Hill is also predominantly lined with trees and the tree canopies play a key role in the concentration levels as they can reduce air flow and the slow down the dispersal of pollutants.

We already have a Strategic Air Quality Action Plan for the borough that was adopted and approved by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in September 2019. This outlines a number of strategic and localised measures we’ve put in place to address the levels of NO2 and improve air quality. Many of these measures will be relevant to Keycol Hill, and we will also investigate any additional measures specific to Keycol Hill.

For more information about what this means for you and what we’re doing to tackle air quality you can visit our website listed in the useful links below.

If you would like to contact us directly please email us at [email protected]

Yours Faithfully

SBC Environmental Protection Team

Useful links

Contact Information

Mrs Wendy Licence

Find Newington Parish Council

Newington, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME9 7JR