Over the past few years, Gateshead Council has been monitoring the levels of air-borne pollutants in the town centre.
Measurements of the most common pollutants - such as nitrogen dioxide - have shown that in some places and at certain times of the day, levels are a little above what the government believes should be the limit.
Nitrogen dioxide can have an irritant effect on the lungs, particularly for those suffering from asthma and similar lung diseases.
For this reason, in April 2005 we declared the town centre area an Air Quality Management Area (later extended in 2008 to include more of the A167 flyover and some of Durham Road).
This pollution is caused almost entirely by road traffic, over which the council has limited control. And it was in response to these levels that we – like many other local authorities up and down the country – declared our town centre as an Air Quality Management Area.
It's important to stress that pollution levels are only slightly above the government's limits. But it would still require up to a 12% reduction in road traffic to get the level of pollution down under the government's limits.
What are we planning to do about it?
Gateshead Council has now drawn up an Air Quality Action Plan which sets out the measures which we believe will help to improve the air quality in Gateshead town centre.
This plan contains a range of measures that we think will have the most impact in reducing levels of air borne pollutants. These include:
Want to know more?
You can download our Air Quality Action plan and Further Assessment of Air Quality in Gateshead document on this page.
What can I do?
We want to hear what you think about our plans to reduce airborne pollution in Gateshead.
If you have any comments you would like to make on the Action Plan, you can get in touch with us.