QUESTIONS have been raised over the effectiveness of air monitoring in the borough.

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has identified it is working to continue to improve air quality, but there are concerns over a current lack of continuous monitoring meaning it is unclear exactly what current levels of pollution are like in Andover.

Councillor Luigi Gregori addressed this concern after an Andover Town Council meeting held on June 21.

He said: “It is difficult to gauge the problem in Test Valley as the borough council does not carry out continuous monitoring of the air quality.

“Monitoring sites in Andover appear to be off the beaten track.

“The legal limit for nitrogen dioxide is 40 micrograms per cubic metres. The council monitors suggest that for Andover it is over 20, whilst Romsey it is above 30 in certain streets.

“A Friends of the Earth project in 2017 found much higher levels of 35 along major roads in Andover.”

There are seven non-automatic monitoring points within Andover measuring levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air.

However, Test Valley does not measure other pollutants such as particulate matter or sulphur dioxide.

There are growing concerns over the effects that particulate matter has on human health, as these tiny particles are said to be the most dangerous pollution, having an impact with heart and lung disease.

Portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, Councillor Phil Bundy, said: “While some of the monitoring points are in residential areas where exposure to air pollution may not be particularly high, such sites have been maintained for long-term trend monitoring purposes.

“There is a mixture of monitoring points in residential areas and some at the kerbside. However, we will be reviewing the monitoring locations later this year and expect to make some changes.”

Test Valley Friends of the Earth branch member Carol Bartholomew said: “We undertook a project to measure air pollution levels in the Test Valley.

“We have results for Romsey but had problems with our Andover readings, but this is something we can revisit.”