Consultation launched after toxic gases found in Hitchin

Toxic gases have been found in the area near the roundabout, caused by cars and lorries

Toxic gases have been found in the area near the roundabout, caused by cars and lorries - Credit: Archant

TOXIC gases found in a residential area have forced a council to take action.

High quantities of Nitrogen Dioxide were found in Stevenage Road, Hitchin, late last year.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) is now asking people to suggest ways to improve air quality in the area.

It follows officers drafting an action plan – as reported by the Comet earlier this year – containing suggestions on ways to tackle the issue.

They range from finding an alternative route for HGVs, to promoting cycling and walking, engaging with schools, businesses and taxi companies, encouraging uptake of electric vehicles, and introducing controlled parking charges.

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Cllr Bernard Lovewell, NHDC’s portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: “We don’t have control over all the factors that might contribute to air quality – the Government set vehicle emission standards and county council is responsible for highways, for example – but we can contribute to managing the situation.

“We have put together some proposals that we think will help and now we want to know what people who live in and around the area think.”

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HGVs are the biggest source of emissions approaching Hitchin Hill roundabout from Stevenage Road, with 39 per cent of emissions attributed to them, even though they make up just 4.5 per cent of the vehicles on the road.

Thirty-seven per cent of emissions come from cars, 15 per cent from light commercial vehicles, eight per cent from public transport and one per cent from motorcycles.

The consultation runs until August 9. To have your say, visit

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