RESIDENTS in Headington have called for increased monitoring of air quality on its most congested streets.

The demand comes after Oxford City Council produced an Air Quality Action Plan on July 17.

This plan came after the Oxford Area Strategy, in the Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan last year, said the UK’s threshold for the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide was exceeded (above the 40 microgram objective) at eight local hotspots.

Traffic is the main source of emissions at all eight of the hotspots, which include the Green Road roundabout.

The public and local interest groups have to September 17 to respond to the consultation launched by the council on what steps should be taken to improve air quality in Oxford.

Patrick Coulter, chairman of Headington Action, said: “There’s a lot of traffic on the residential streets, especially Windmill Road, Old Road and Headley Way, which you might not get in other areas.

“The Air Quality plan ignores the fact that traffic goes along side streets.

“If the council is serious about tackling the problem, they need to look at other streets in Headington, not just the London Road and Green Road.

“I think they should ask the community for more suggestions.”

Ruth Wilkinson, city councillor for Headington, said: “The city council is aware that Headington Centre has an air quality problem, but the diffusion tubes that measure this in Headington are only at the Green Road roundabout and the Headington centre.

“Our concern about air quality has been increasing since the council in 2008 reported that Windmill Road may have raised nitrogen dioxide levels.”

She added: “I am pressing for more diffusion tubes to be placed near the junctions suffering from the heaviest congestion including London Road/Windmill Road, Windmill Road/Old Road and London Road/Headley Way to give a clearer picture of how widespread the problem is.

“We need to monitor air quality in residential streets used as rat runs too.”

Chairman of Headington Transport Group Charles Young said: “We get a higher level of traffic than other areas in Oxford and so I don’t think we have enough air monitoring.”

Craig Simmons, leader of the council’s Green Group, said: “There are clearly other areas in Oxford suffering from bad air quality and there needs to be more monitoring.

“What’s lacking is action on the part of the city council. It’s all well producing reports, but if you don’t do anything about it then what’s the point?”

People can respond to the consultation on the council website or by visiting the customer contact centre at St Aldate’s Chambers.