The Council has a legal duty to monitor air quality as this can have an impact on health and the environment.
We are a member of the Essex Air Quality Consortium which consists of all Local Authorities in Essex, Essex County Council, the Environment Agency, London Stansted Airport and the University of Essex. The group meets regularly to provide assistance and share experience and best practice to carry out their duties to promote improvements in air quality related issues.
We report on the assessment of air quality in the area and the measurement data is held on the Essex Air Consortium website at Essex Air - Maldon. General information is available at Essex Air and you can also view our current annual status report.
What’s Happening About Market Hill? - The Market Hill Air Quality Management Area
What monitoring of air quality does Maldon District Council undertake?
In accordance with the requirements of Local Air Quality Management, Maldon District Council undertakes monitoring of air quality within the District. Results of the air quality monitoring is published on an annual basis in the form of an Annual Status Report which is also submitted to the Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for their review and comments.
The most recent Annual Status Report can be found via the link above.
What has happened on Market Hill?
After an audit of air quality monitoring sites within the district, monitoring commenced on Market Hill in Maldon and significant exceedances of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air quality objective have been measured. Consequently, on 11th December 2018 Maldon District Council declared “Maldon District Council Air Quality Management Area number 1”.
This can be found at: https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/aqma/details?aqmaref=2020
What is required when an AQMA has been declared?
After declaration, Maldon District Council must prepare an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) setting out measures it intends to put in place to comply with the air quality objectives.
What has happened so far?
Source Apportionment and dispersion modelling has been carried out to identify the contribution from individual classes of vehicles towards the NO2 levels on Market Hill. The model will be used to simulate what effect proposed measures will have on the air quality.
A steering group has been formed to develop the AQAP. This contains elected Members, officers from Maldon District Council and representatives from Essex County Council.
The steering group itself first met on 8th May 2019, to review the dispersion modelling data. Recommendation was made to engage with the Community to obtain ideas from local residents and business on changes to Market Hill and the immediate area. This was undertaken through an afternoon drop-in session at Maldon District Council on 18th June 2019:
The steering group met again on 10th July 2019 and comments and suggestions put forward from the Community Engagement were discussed. Dispersion modelling of a number of measures agreed to be undertaken and the steering group to meet again to discuss the results and appropriate next steps in the development of a draft plan.
The steering group met again on 9th October 2019. A number of measures were subject to modelling on how air pollution disperses following the Community Engagement session held on 18 June 2019. The results of the modelling were discussed by the group. A draft action plan is currently being prepared which is likely to take a minimum of 6 weeks. The Action Plan will be presented at a future Public Engagement event, date to be advised.
What kind of area/scope of action is capable within the action plan?
Action Plan development will consider a variety of potential measures. These measures will either focus upon the reduction of traffic volume along Market Hill, improvements to traffic flow and the emissions of the vehicles using the road. It is important that potential measures are thoroughly reviewed ensure that measures are appropriate for the town.
Once the AQAP has been drafted, public consultation will be undertaken. After review of the public consultation, a finalised AQAP will then be submitted to DEFRA for approval. The AQAP will require final approval by elected Members (Councillors).