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We’re progressing work to improve air quality in Ashbourne

Published: 14 March 2024

Several projects we're currently undertaking are aiming to improve air quality in Ashbourne town centre.

Air pollution in the town has been measured by Derbyshire Dales District Council. This found that air pollution, mainly from road traffic on the A515 Buxton road in the town centre was exceeding nitrogen dioxide objectives, when compared to national air quality thresholds. The district council declared an air quality management area.

We've developed and are delivering a plan to reduce the road transport related air pollution which aims to bring nitrogen dioxide emissions back under the national thresholds.

This plan includes undertaking modelling and installing air quality monitors in nine locations across the town centre. This will gather information about air quality, and will allow us to undertake detailed analysis of the data which can be used to fine tune measures to improve air quality.

Other measures in the plan include the new traffic lights which have just been installed at the Park Road / Sturston Road junction, with another set currently being installed at the Compton / Sturston junction.

These new traffic lights have the technology installed to help improve the traffic flow. They will automatically adjust to keep traffic moving - standing traffic generates higher levels of emissions.

Several other sets of lights in the town, and some pedestrian crossings will also be joined up with the two new sets of traffic lights to a new system to keep the traffic moving. These are:

  • Market Place - pedestrian crossing
  • Park Road - pedestrian crossing
  • Traffic lights at the Church Street / Dig Street junction
  • Traffic lights at the Station Road / King Edward Street junction

We’ve recently received significant funding from the Government to install significant numbers of electric vehicle chargers across the county. The chargers will be a mix of on-street, off-street and rapid charging hubs with site locations currently being investigated, but will include a number for Ashbourne.

Other measures include working with the local haulage companies, whose lorries need to travel through the town. Many of the big operators are using vehicles with the cleanest engine types, and are running driver training and monitoring programmes to ensure they are driving in the most efficient way.

Our Deputy Leader, Councillor Simon Spencer, said:

“We know that air quality is an issue in the town, and that the best solution to lower it by any significant degree is the building of the relief road.

“But while we progress with the work on this key road, which includes bidding for Government and regional funding, we are doing all we can to stop the problem getting any worse.

“Information is key to this work, and the installation of new air quality monitors will give us the ability to see the picture across the town. We can then work to see what we can do to improve air quality in those specific locations.

“Managing traffic flow is key to this. Standing traffic just generates emissions, so the more we can keep vehicles moving through the town the better.”