Pollution alerts to warn of Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar air quality changes

PUBLISHED: 09:39 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12 22 March 2019

Air pollution limits are being breached at the junction of Darkes Lane and Mutton Lane. Picture: DANNY LOO

Air pollution limits are being breached at the junction of Darkes Lane and Mutton Lane. Picture: DANNY LOO

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Hertsmere and Welwyn Hatfield councils have signed up to a county-wide project that sends free pollution alerts to your mobile.

Air pollution limits are being breached at the junction of Darkes Lane and Mutton Lane. Picture: DANNY LOOAir pollution limits are being breached at the junction of Darkes Lane and Mutton Lane. Picture: DANNY LOO

In both boroughs, the recently-launched free Air Pollution Alert System can be signed up to online and sends users a message if air pollution in their area is forecast to be moderate, high or very high.

Hertsmere councillor Seamus Quilty, portfolio holder for environment, said the system will “enable those who are more vulnerable to air pollution to be better prepared to manage its effects.

“The service is quick, easy to use and will be particularly beneficial to residents who have health conditions or spend a lot of time outside.”

Both councils are required by the government to monitor air quality and flag up areas of particular concern as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

As of 2017, there were eight AQMAs in Hertsmere: two in Dove Lane and High Street in Potters Bar, and two in Blanche Lane and St Albans Road around South Mimms.

There are no AQMAs in Welwyn Hatfield, where air quality is currently deemed to be good, according to a 2018 report.

However, as the council has in recent years focused on areas flagged for future development, the locations being monitored have not necessarily in the most congested areas - something which the council has addressed by moving some of its monitoring kit.

In a 2017 report, Hertsmere council revealed that there were also eight locations in Potters Bar and South Mimms that had exceeded acceptable levels of certain pollutants, some of them for several years in a row.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were recorded to have exceeded recommended levels at air quality monitoring sites at the corner of Mutton Lane and Darkes Lane; High Street; Southgate Road; Parkside; Hatfield Road; and The Causeway.

Closer to South Mimms, NO2 levels had also exceeded government objectives at Blanche Lane and St Albans Road.

In Welwyn Hatfield, just one site exceeded recommended levels, which was at Ellenbrook Lane in Hatfield, near Comet Way.

According to Defra, high levels of NO2 can inflame lungs and, over a long period, can affect how well our lungs work.

This newspaper has asked Hertsmere council for its latest data.

Despite the 2017 findings, Hertsmere councillor Seamus Quilty, portfolio holder for environment, said that air quality there is “reasonably good”.

County Councillor Tim Hutchings, cabinet member for public health and prevention, remarked that poor air quality disproportionately affects the young, the old, the sick and the poor.

To sign up, go to: www.airqualityengland.co.uk/local-authority/knr-subscription.

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