Action planning to improve air quality

The declaration of the AQMAs, adopting Air Quality Action Plans and a Strategy have enabled us to make excellent progress improving air quality. Not only within the whole borough but within those declared areas for local residents and visitors. Through working with partners, Kent County Council, Kent County Highways, National Highways and the Environment Agency.

Many actions have been completed including:

  • The realignment of the A2 Trunk Road away from the residential areas
  • Variable messaging signage to give real-time numbers of car parking spaces to those looking for town centre parking
  • Co-ordination of various traffic signals at junctions on a particular route to improve the flow and reduce congestion
  • Provision of bus priority measures to assist the improvement of public transport in the town centre
  • Improved cycle routes
  • Provision of the Fast Track bus route from Gravesend to Dartford via Ebbsfleet Station.
  • The closure of the Northfleet cement works has also improved air quality in the area.

Significant improvements in the air quality of some areas, show they no longer exceed the relevant objective and therefore the following AQMAs have been revoked:

  • Northfleet Industrial Area AQMA for Particulate Matter (PM10)
  • B262/B261 Pelham Arms Junction for Nitrogen dioxide NO2
  • The Echo Junction Area incorporating the junction of Parrock Road, (B261) Old Road East, Whitehill Road, Sun Lane and Cross Lane East and
  • The Parrock Street Area incorporating the stretch of Parrock Street from the point at which Parrock Street crosses the railway southwards to the junction of Christ Church Road and also Lord Street from its junction with Parrock Street to its junction with Windmill Street.

The following three AQMAs remain for now however we are drafting a new action plan to focus on these three areas as well as the whole borough:

  • A2 Trunk Road AQMA for Nitrogen dioxide NO2
  • A226 One-way system in Gravesend for Nitrogen dioxide NO2
  • A227/B261 Wrotham Road/Old Road West Junction for Nitrogen dioxide NO2.

View maps of these areas

Revocation of Northfleet Industrial AQMA

We have monitored years of significant improvement in the levels of Particulate Matter (PM10) in this very large AQMA. Following the closure of the cement works, new housing developments have replaced much of the industrial land. This has seen 15 years of continuous compliance with the national objective, therefore appropriate  to revoke the declaration for Particulate Matter (PM10).

View the Northfleet Industrial AQMA Revocation Order 2024

A2 Trunk Road AQMA – Improvements

Monitoring has shown that air quality has clearly improved in the A2 Trunk Road Air Quality Management Area. This is due to the realignment of the carriageway and general improvement of the vehicle fleet. The number of homes affected by air pollution has decreased. In 2012 we reduced the size of the Air Quality Management Area for Nitrogen dioxide and to revoke the declaration for Particulate Matter (PM10) as this pollutant is no longer exceeding the national objective.

The smaller area came into force on 1 February 2012. The number of homes and businesses in the new area was reduced from 1233 to 87.

Further improvements in the air quality of this AQMA, there are now a small number of homes remaining in areas above the objectives but with significantly improved air quality.

Whilst the area of the AQMA could be made smaller, it is beneficial at this time to leave the declaration as it is to help protect any area within the AQMA from any worsening of the air quality.

A226 One-way system in Gravesend for Nitrogen dioxide NO2

Levels of Nitrogen dioxide have improved in the town centre area year on year. For the first time, none of the 29 monitoring sites within, exceeded the objective in 2022. Our new action plan will seek to further improve air quality in this area, making levels low enough to revoke the declaration.

A227/B261 Wrotham Road/Old Road West Junction for Nitrogen dioxide NO2

There have been significant improvements in the levels of Nitrogen dioxide NO2 in this small AQMA to below the objective. However this needs to be sustained for a period of years before the AQMA can be revoked. We have installed additional monitoring to make sure that the improvement is continuing. If this is the case throughout 2024 we hope to be able to revoke this declaration in 2025.

Review of the Existing Air Quality Action plans

Once an AQMA has been declared we must produce an Air Quality Action Plan and work with Partner Agencies to pursue an improvement in air quality. We've produced two Action Plans as follows:

  • Final Action Plan - A2 Trunk Road and Northfleet Industrial Area AQMAs (July 2004)
  • Air Quality Action Plan - Urban Area AQMAs (July 2006)

The two existing action plans are currently being reviewed and a new action plan will replace these as well as the Air Quality Strategy.

The aim of the Action Plans is to identify how we will use our existing powers and work together with other organisations in pursuit of the Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen dioxide and Particulate matter (PM10). Measures will be included to improve air quality both within the AQMAs and across the Borough as a whole. 

The draft air quality action plan will be going out to consultation shortly. We will update our webpages as to when the public consultation will begin.