• high air quality in a park


Warrington Council was awarded government funding to investigate ways to tackle air pollution - a major health problem in UK towns. Our experts helped to gather and analyse extensive traffic data, and helped the council understand what options would make the biggest impact to improving air quality in the town.

The Challenge

The overall purpose of this study was to consider a range of options that could be implemented to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality concentrations within polluted areas in and around Warrington town centre.

Our Approach

Following our initial scoping and screening, we took forward selected options for further analysis including emissions modelling, air quality dispersion modelling and assessments for health impacts and cost effectiveness. Stakeholder engagement was key, so we consulted local decision makers and interested parties throughout to ensure that our recommendations were right for Warrington. Access to a large amount of accurate traffic data was crucial. We designed and procured comprehensive ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) and ATC (automatic traffic count) surveys across 16 paired sites around the town centre. These data were used to provide the baseline evidence to fully understand local traffic fleet characteristics and vehicle movements that were used in the assessments.

‘Air pollution is a major problem which can cause serious health issues - from asthma to heart attacks - and it is vital we make every effort to reduce it and improve our nation’s health. Traffic emissions - one of the main sources of nitrogen dioxide - are often at the root of this problem. Therefore local action designed to tackle local problems will be especially effective.’ Environment Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Results

Emissions and air quality modelling was conducted for a number of options. We chose two schemes for prioritisation: re-routing of goods vehicles on key roads around the town centre and changes to gyratory options in the town centre. We carried out detailed modelling, health and cost-effectiveness assessments for these options and presented them to the council and stakeholders to consider for implementation.

Want to know more about this project?