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Clear the air

Air quality in parts of Newry City centre is the worst in Northern Ireland but it is hoped that short and long term steps could help clear the air. Last week the Department of Environment confirmed that air quality at Canal Street and Trevor Hill were singled out for worrying measures of PM10 particulate matter which were above those recorded anywhere else in Northern Ireland. At Canal Street the recording was 10 (very high) and at Trevor Hill the measure was 8 (high). The main causes of the problem are combustion heating systems and vehicle emissions which when coupled with Newry’s valley location lead to a build up of harmful fumes. Despite the delivery of the A1 bypass a year and a half ago, a considerable level of HGV traffic continues to trundle through the centre of Newry as Greenbank Industrial Estate and Warrenpoint Harbour are not linked directly to the main Belfast Dublin passage. As such stakeholders believe the proposed southern relief road provides the best long term solution to the problem. However in the short term Newry and Mourne District Council’s director of environmental health John Farrell outlined some of the steps being taken to alleviate the problem. “There will be 21 charging posts for electric cars shortly going in across the district from Kilkeel to Slieve Gullion and throughout Newry,” he said. “The Council will also be going out to tender for some electric vehicles and we hop to have some litter and dog enforcement vehicles by April. We have an air quality action plan and electric vehicles help with this. We would also like to see a new traffic management system with integrated traffic lights across the city and a green travel plan. We see ourselves as civic leaders in this field and hope to lead by example.


Newry Reporter

8th February 2012