Air quality in Lutterworth improves for the third year in a row

Lockdowns have played a role in boosting air quality in the town

Lutterworth high street.

Air quality has improved in Lutterworth for the third year on the spin – boosted by a string of Covid lockdowns.

The annual average levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air continued to fall in Lutterworth’s Air Quality Management Area in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The positive up-to-date pollution picture has been revealed in the Air Quality – Annual Status Report 2021 published by Harborough District Council.

Fewer cars on the road amid the national coronavirus lockdowns has also played a part in the “continuing lower pollution levels in the last year”.

Other factors include the success of the lorry gating system, which allows a greater free flow of wagons through Lutterworth by controlling the traffic light sequencing.

Air quality in Harborough district is good overall.

But two Air Quality Management Areas were set up in the district – in Lutterworth in 2001 and in the Kibworths in 2017 – due to the level of nitrogen dioxide topping the “annual mean air quality objective”.

“As part of the air quality monitoring undertaken by the council there is a network of diffusion tubes at 34 sites across the district.

“In the last year, none of these have showed any exceedances of the air quality objectives – with lockdowns, again, a key factor,” said Harborough council.

“In addition to the diffusion tubes, the council monitors air quality using a reference monitor and a mobile device.”

Cllr Jonathan Bateman, the authority’s lead on air quality, said: “This report is further good news for Lutterworth, and the wider district, and it is clear that national lockdowns have contributed.

“However, it is crucial we continue to do all we can to improve air quality to maintain a cleaner and greener Harborough district, as a council and as individuals.

“Our Lutterworth Town Centre Masterplan looks to maximise opportunities to create more cycle facilities, improve public transport links and install more electric vehicle charge points which could have a positive impact on air quality in the future.”

The council said it will go on monitoring and checking local pollution levels for several more years before deciding whether to revoke the Air Quality Management Area in Lutterworth.

Councillors considered the Annual Status Report, based on air quality data from 2020, at a Harborough council Cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday).

You can find out more about air quality in Harborough district and view live air quality updates at www.harborough.gov.uk/airquality