POOR air quality contributes to 62 deaths per year in Blackburn with Darwen, Public Health England figures show.

But improvements were seen at the borough's seven air quality management areas (AQMA) last year, a report to go before the council's executive board on Thursday states.

The areas were declared because of unacceptably high levels of nitrogen dioxides, mainly from road traffic.

Statistics show compared with previous years, there has been an improvement at almost all of the 46 monitoring locations.

These improvements occurred across the borough, so they cannot be attributed to changes at individual junctions.

Council bosses welcomed the 2017 results but said they should be treated with caution because some factors, like the weather, can cause short term changes in the build-up of pollution.

AQMA 1 is Intack at the junction of Whitebirk Road and Accrington Road, while AQMA 2 is Bastwell at the junction of Whalley New Road and Whalley Range.

The A666 between Robert Street and Wraith Street in Darwen town centre forms AQMA 3 while AQMA 4 is Witton at the junction of Preston Old ROad and Buncer Lane.

AQMA 5 is Earcroft at the junction of the A666 with the M65 link road.

The junction of Stopes Brow, Blackamoor Road and Roman Road forms AQMA 6 and the junction of Pleckgate ROad, Revidge Road, Lammack Road and Shear Brow is AQMA 7.

Executive member for environment, Cllr Jim Smith, said in the report: "The long term trends at AQMAs 3, 4, and 5 indicate that future exceedances of the national objective are unlikely.

"These AQMAs may be revoked once Defra have peer reviewed the monitoring data and agreed to the conclusions in the 2018 Annual Status Report.

"AQMAs No. 6 and No. 7 present the most significant challenge. The action plan will be updated to include new measures to tackle problems at Four Lane Ends, as this junction remains a significant


"Funding has been secured for a new link road at Blackamoor and it has been identified in the relevant planning master plan.

"The impact of the new road will be modelled when more is known about the new road layout and anticipated traffic flows."

The council plans to tackle the issue by modifying junctions to reduce congestion and emissions and offer people greater choice so more are choosing to cycle, walk or use public transport.

Consideration will also be given to the impact of development upon existing

and potential air pollution hotspots.

To that end, a new air quality planning advisory note has been adopted,

which sets out how we intend to deal with site specific issues that need to be addressed and provides guidance which identifies how developers can take action that will reduce the health impact associated with development and transport emissions.