Gunnislake Air Quality

Gunnislake Air Quality Management Area

We have been monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels in Gunnislake for several years.  The biggest source of nitrogen dioxide is the exhaust gases from cars and lorries, passing through the town on the A390.

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Our early monitoring showed that air pollution levels in Gunnislake were higher than they should be, so we carried out a detailed assessment of air quality in the village in 2011. The detailed assessment confirmed that there was poor air quality along the A390 and Defra agreed that an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ (AQMA) should be declared.

The AQMA was declared in March 2014.

What have we done so far?

We have monitored levels of nitrogen dioxide in the village for several years and identified that there are several areas where the level of nitrogen dioxide has reached levels above the UK objectives and the EU Limit Value (which the UK is required to meet by law).  The Council therefore decided that action is needed to reduce levels of pollution.  The Council decided that the entire village should be declared as an Air Quality Management Area village due to higher pollution levels being found in several ‘hotspots’ around the village. 

How do we measure air pollution?

We are measuring nitrogen dioxide at several locations around the village using ‘diffusion tubes’.  These are small plastic tubes that sample for one month before being sent to a laboratory for analysis.  The results give us a good idea of where pollution levels are highest. 

Action Plan

We worked with our colleagues and partners to develop an action plan which sets out steps which could improve air quality in Gunnislake. In early 2016 we carried out a public consultation to find out local people's views on the draft Action Plan.  All comments were taken into consideration and the finalised Action Plan is now available as part of the Clean Air for Cornwall Strategy. The Action Plan improvement measures are as follows:

  • Develop a programme to continuously monitor traffic flow, real-time air quality and visual monitoring.
  • Work with haulier to re-route HGVs around Gunnislake (via A38)
  • Launch Eco Stars scheme
  • Use of experimental traffic order to redesign traffic flows.
  • Insert pinch point adjacent to Alma Terrace
  • Buses replaced by cleaner vehicles
  • Encourage and promote local car share
  • Review of speed limits and signage.
  • Encourage and promote modal shift (bus and rail)
  • Increased frequency of bus services through Gunnislake to other areas.
  • Bus stop upgrades inc. real time information, accessibility and bus shelter improvements
  • New and enhanced cycle and pedestrian links
  • Restricted parking on street at Alma Terrace
  • Free parking in town centre car park for residents of Alma Terrace

Update on pinch point/trial build out

We recently trialled a traffic priority scheme on Sand Hill.  The scheme aimed to improve air quality in Gunnislake by cutting down on the stop-start traffic near the homes at Alma Terrace.  During the three month trial, we continued to monitor air quality in the area to see if the temporary build out had any impact on levels of nitrogen dioxide.  

Disappointingly, the air quality data over the three month period did not show any real improvements and there was no evidence to show that nitrogen dioxide levels were any lower as a result of the trial.  As such we are not considering the build out as a long term option.