Air pollution fears in Midhurst could be confirmed

Steve Morley pictured on Rumbolds Hill earlier this year
Steve Morley pictured on Rumbolds Hill earlier this year

Air quality monitoring at a hot spot in Midhurst could confirm long-held fears of excessive pollution at Rumbolds Hill.

Town and district councillors called for monitoring more than a year ago amid fears more lorries using the centre of Midhurst were adding to noise and air pollution and damaging roads.

After a year Chichester District Council (CDC) has now found the air quality on the narrow road, which carries the busy A272 and A286, may exceed UK standards for nitrogen dioxide.

The council now looks set to declare an ‘air quality management area’ (AQMA) and examine ways of reducing the pollution.

A CDC spokesman said: “In our statutory air quality role we are fully aware of the air quality issues at Rumbolds Hill and intend to move towards declaring this location an AQMA. We will then need to put together an air quality action plan.

“To do this, we first need to meet with our partners responsible for the local road network, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and our local councillors to discuss the way forward.”

Town and district councillor Steve Morley has long voiced concerns about the increasing number of lorries in the town centre. “I was invited to join the CDC air quality working group and as I had supported ongoing air quality monitoring across the district, I was enthusiastic to help. My interest was inspired by increasing numbers of lorries through our town and the impact this might have on our health. Two years ago I supported cllr Andrew Shaxson’s request for more monitoring.”

He was optimistic CDC, WSCC and the South Downs National Park could ‘work together to find a solution to mitigate any emerging issues’. “Midhurst is home to a national park headquarters and I’m confident if an AQMA monitor indicates a problem, we can work together to create a solution and thus ensure cleaner air for the future.”

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