Lockdowns contribute to third year of improved air quality

Published Tuesday 12 October 2021

Air quality has continued to improve in Lutterworth, for the third year running, with the coronavirus lockdowns noted as a significant factor.

The Air Quality – Annual Status Report 2021, published by Harborough District Council, shows that, in the Air Quality Management Area in Lutterworth, there was no exceedance in the annual average levels of nitrogen dioxide in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Lutterworth high street

Less cars on the road, due to Government imposed national coronavirus lockdowns, has been a cited as a contributing factor for the continuing lower pollution levels in the last year.

Other factors include the success of the HGV gating system, which allows a greater free flow of lorries through Lutterworth by controlling the traffic light sequencing.

Whilst the air quality in the Harborough district is generally good, two Air Quality Management Areas have been declared in the district – in Lutterworth in 2001, and in the Kibworths in 2017 – due to levels of nitrogen dioxide exceeding the annual mean air quality objective.

As part of the air quality monitoring undertaken by the Council there is a network of diffusion tubes at 34 sites across the district. In the last year, none of these have showed any exceedances of the air quality objectives – with lockdowns, again, a key factor. In addition to the diffusion tubes, the Council monitors air quality using a reference monitor and a mobile device.

Cllr Jonathan Bateman, Harborough District Council’s lead on air quality, said: “This report is further good news for Lutterworth, and the wider district, and it is clear that national lockdowns have contributed. However, it is crucial we continue to do all we can to improve air quality to maintain a cleaner and greener Harborough district, as a Council and as individuals. Our Lutterworth Town Centre Masterplan looks to maximise opportunities to create more cycle facilities, improve public transport links and install more electric vehicle charge points which could have a positive impact on air quality in the future.”

The Council said further monitoring for a number of years would be required before it has sufficient evidence to revoke the Air Quality Management Area in Lutterworth.

Councillors considered the Annual Status Report, based on air quality data from 2020, at a Harborough District Council Cabinet meeting on 11 October 2021.

View the Cabinet report on the Council’s website.

Find out more about air quality in the Harborough district and view live air quality updates at www.harborough.gov.uk/airquality