M1 (J37) Air Quality Management Area

26 10 2013


Barnsley AQMA No 1

An area along the M1 between Junction 35a and Junction 38, including Haigh, Darton, Cawthorne Dike, Higham, Dodworth, Gilroyd, Rockley, Birdwell, and Tankersley. The area extends 100m either side of the central reservation.

According to Barnsley Council’s Air Quality Action Plan 2010:

“Declaration of the first AQMA in 2001 (M1 motorway throughout the Barnsley Borough) highlighted the need for the local authority to work with the Highways Agency in dealing with air quality problems close to this motorway. This AQMA was declared due to likely exceedence of
the annual average objective for NO2 within 100 metres either side of the central reservation of the motorway, as it passes through the Borough.
The motorway, as a trunk road is administered by the Highways Agency.
It was recognised in the original plan of the pivotal role the Agency has in improving air quality in this AQMA. The Agency was consulted throughout the drafting of the original plan, and consequently made comment on potential measures which would fall under the Agency’s remit.

The main points contained within the Highways Agency response are summarised below:

The Agency has considered the measures contained within the plan which specifically involve
them, these being:

Speed limit reductions
Road User Charging
Reduction in traffic volumes
Variable message signs / traffic management systems

In response to the original Plan, the Agency considered that under a “do minimum” scenario, with no further action undertaken by the Agency that the annual average objective for nitrogen dioxide would be achieved in 2007.
The Agency then considered speed limit reductions, and quote costs for the purchasing of speed cameras for a two kilometre stretch of motorway. The Agency estimated costs being greater than £1 million, and the cost of delay to travellers was estimated by the Agency of approximately £2
million per annum (assuming 100 000 AADT). Consequently, the Agency considered that “this is an expensive option and would not be cost effective in delivering the marginal improvements in health that would be expected at the few properties affected”.

The Agency then stated that any road charging scheme is unlikely to be implemented before 2011. The Agency then commented on reductions in traffic volumes, and stated that “achieving reductions in traffic volumes is always desirable but of course not easy. Measures that could help include travel plans for local traffic, improvements to rail services, promotion of public transport and national measures to encourage more efficient movement of freight”. The Agency then offers their assistance with any specific projects.

Since 2005, Barnsley MBC and the Agency have been involved in a joint monitoring exercise, which shows marginal exceedence of the annual average objective within the M1 AQMA, with concentrations not showing the downward trend predicted in 2004 by the Agency. There continues to be dialogue with Agency officers (particularly via regional air quality groups), and the Agency is aware of its responsibilities regarding air quality. Barnsley MBC will continue to work with the Agency in attempting to improve air quality within this AQMA, and just as importantly ensure that any measures implemented by the Agency do not have a negative impact on air quality adjacent to the local road network.