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Tideford residents take part in pioneering pilot to test indoor air quality: #BeAirAware on Clean Air Day

Residents in Tideford whose homes border the A38 are taking part in a ground-breaking pilot to measure the effect of plug-in air purifiers on their indoor air quality. 

Twelve households in the village have each received an air purifier as part of a two-year initiative looking to understand the impact of the A38 traffic on outdoor and indoor air quality in Tideford, and whether purifiers can improve indoor air quality. 

James Peck from the project team explains: “Continued monitoring for the duration of the pilot will provide data to evidence the effectiveness of the air purifiers at improving indoor air quality, when compared to the data collected without the purifiers installed.”  

Air quality in Cornwall is generally very good. However, there are certain 'hotspots' where readings fail to meet national air quality objectives. The area in which these are located are declared Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).  

Tideford continued to report pollution levels higher than the National Air Quality Objectives during the pandemic and so was selected for the pilot project.  

Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for environment and climate change said:  “As we mark Clean Air Day on 16 June, we’re committed to delivering a great environment for all. This is an interesting pilot project which, subject to the effectiveness of the air quality monitors, the benefit of the air purifiers, the availability of funding and, of course, local support, could potentially be extended to other areas that suffer from poor air quality in Cornwall.” 

Air quality is a measure of how much pollution is in the air we breathe. There is a large range of natural and man-made sources of air pollution, both indoors and outdoors.  

In Cornwall, the primary focus is on measuring and reducing Particulate Matter (PM) and Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in the air. Road traffic pollution is the principal source of NO2 pollution in Cornwall and across the UK with around 85% of measured NO2 originating from road transport.  

Cllr Philip Desmonde, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport, said: “While this project does not serve to immediately tackle the primary source of air pollution in Tideford, it does attempt to reduce resident exposure to potential poor air quality whilst they are in their homes. The outdoor air quality data and outcomes of the project will be shared with National Highways, who own and manage the A38, to potentially influence the scope of their future projects that aim to improve air quality. We continue to work closely with National Highways to address local air quality alongside wider issues such as road safety.” 

Kate Ewert, Cornwall Councillor for Rame and St Germans said: “I am absolutely delighted to see this scheme come to fruition; residents in Tideford have, for far too long, been suffering with the effects on air quality from the incredibly busy A38 running directly outside their homes. While we know that this is a sticking plaster and doesn’t solve the root cause of the issue in Tideford, it is hoped that this scheme will improve the day to day lives of residents along the road, which cannot come soon enough.  It has been great to see such enthusiasm from officers in moving this project forward with myself and the local Parish Council and I look forward to seeing the improvements as we move forward.” 

There are things that we can all do to improve Cornwall’s air quality. Here are a few simple changes we can all make  

  • Start travelling to shops in your local area by walking or cycling. 
  • Walking, cycling, or even scooting to school. 
  • Try leaving the car at home and travel by bus or train to work and then walk or cycle that last mile. 
  • Consider switching to a cleaner car, such as an electric or hybrid, to lower your emissions. 
  • If you’re often doing a journey to a similar location, such as work or school, as someone else locally to you it’s worth considering car sharing.  
  • Avoid having bonfires.  

Story posted 15 June 2022

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