It's our district and borough council's job to monitor air quality in the county to see that it meets the required standard. For obvious reasons we need to know the air we're breathing in isn't doing us undue harm.
But there are times where a certain part of the county or a stretch of road will breach required standards and the local authorities must take action.
In these cases, an Air Quality Management Area order is imposed and an action plan is drawn up to improve pollution levels.
There are four main areas within Northamptonshire which are of concern.
|Village suffers from poor air quality|
The county's stretch of the M1 is of course on the list. But it's surprising that an Air Quality Management Area was designated in Kislingbury.
In January 2003 it was marked as an area of concern due to high levels of nitrogen dioxide thought to be blown from the motorway.
In Northampton itself, the area of St James and Victoria Promenade are both places where transport is causing problems. They have been on the list since April 2005.
In these cases, Real Time Analysers have now been installed to accurately monitor local Nitrogen Oxide levels.
The data from this equipment is downloaded every two days to provide a clearer picture of the air quality situation.
The fourth area of concern is in Towcester, in particular the cross roads in the town centre.
The stretch of road along Watling Street is considered to be a hot-spot due to frequent congestion and poor dispersal caused by the high buildings and narrow streets.
South Northamptonshire Council declared an Air Quality Management Area for a stretch of the A5 in Towcester in September 2005.
There are also concerns about air quality in other areas of the county, although they've not been classed as an Air Quality Management Area.
Levels of nitrogen oxide have almost doubled since 2000 on the A508 in the village of Roade.
The increases in traffic and safety measures - people are slowing down and accelerating again - are having an affect.
A detailed review is also being carried out on behalf of East Northamptonshire Council in Rushden to determine the current situation. It's suspected levels of Nitrogen Oxide have risen recently there also.