AIR QUALITY in Bodmin is among the worst in Cornwall – and one man feels it is affecting his health.
Results from the Cornwall Air Quality Unit's (CAQU) air pollution monitoring report show that air quality in Bodmin is getting worse.
The CAQU has a partnership agreement with Cornwall Council and results from tests carried out between January and June this year show that pollution has worsened since 2012.
There are currently 'hotspots' in Cornwall where air pollution standards are failing to meet national air quality objectives, with Bodmin being one of them.
The UK legal limit for annual mean levels of nitrogen dioxide – the gas emitted from cars and lorries – is 40 micrograms per cubic metre, a limit first put in place in 2005.
Eight locations along Dennison Road and St Leonard's exceeded this level in the latest report, compared to seven locations in 2012.
Only the combined Camborne-Pool-Redruth area had more sites exceeding the limit in 2012, making Bodmin the worst affected single town in Cornwall.
Although research suggests that the health effects of nitrogen dioxide are not as significant as other pollutants, the World Health Organisation states that the levels of the gas are a reasonable marker of exposure to more dangerous emissions.
Approximately 29,000 people in the UK die prematurely each year due to poor air quality.
Tudor Pascoe, who lives in the St Leonard's region of the town, said he is worried about his health and that of everybody living in the area.
"In the summer, I could smell the pollution in the air as I stepped out the door," Mr Pascoe said.
"It was like being hit by a brick wall. My dog was sneezing and wheezing. We're all concerned."
Mr Pascoe said he has written to Cornwall Council but doesn't believe it will act.
Under the Environment Act 1995, local authorities are required to assess and, if necessary, take action, in matters relating to air quality.
As levels of nitrogen dioxide in Bodmin are exceeding the current legal limit, the council has a duty to initiate remedial action by declaring an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and preparing an Action Plan to improve air quality.
An AQMA was declared for Bodmin in 2008 and also for Camborne-Pool-Redruth and Tideford.
Environmental protection officer Eloise Travis said a county-wide Action Plan was published by the council earlier this year.
"The actions primarily relate to sustainable travel; however, there is a need for a review of these actions in light of the work being undertaken on the Bodmin Town Framework by my colleagues," Miss Travis said.
The four specific actions relating to sustainable travel include improving the town's pedestrian environment and promoting walking and cycling activities, as well as the continuing monitoring of air quality.
The council has recently installed a new nitrogen dioxide gas monitoring station at the corner of Dennison Road and Crockwell Street. Miss Travis said once further Town Framework consultation is complete later this year, the Action Plan and Town Framework will be linked, possibly by early 2014.