We carry out regular reviews and assessments of air quality in North Hertfordshire against standards and objectives set out by the National Air Quality Strategy.
If we find any place where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, we are required to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) there.
There are two Air Quality Management Areas in North Hertfordshire:
- Stevenage Road, Hitchin: in 2012 an area along Stevenage Road, Hitchin was declared as an AQMA because nitrogen dioxide concentrations were detected that were above the air quality standard set to be protective of human health. The AQMA Order formalising this decision was sent to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) in July 2012.
- Payne's Park roundabout, Hitchin: in 2016 an area at the Payne's Park roundabout, Hitchin was declared as an AQMA because nitrogen dioxide was being measured at concentrations above the standard set to be protective of human health. The AQMA Order formalising this decision was completed and sent to DEFRA in January 2017.
The Orders specify the locations of the AQMAs. They can be viewed and downloaded below.
Despite these declarations, there is no immediate public health concern for residents along Stevenage Road and in the vicinity of Payne's Park, Hitchin.
The Council worked with, among others, colleagues in Hertfordshire Highways to develop an Action Plan to help improve air quality at Stevenage Road. There was a public consultation on the Stevenage Road Action Plan and reference to that process and the responses arising from it are included in the final version that was approved by NHDC Cabinet on 24 September 2013.
A Joint Action Plan that has been developed to help improve air quality within both the Stevenage Road and Payne’s Park Air Quality Management Areas has been finalised. This Action Plan was published in February 2018 following a public consultation process and can be found below.