A COUNCILLOR is calling for ‘urgent’ action to tackle pollution levels in Dorchester.

At a meeting of West Dorset District Council’s executive committee members were told that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in High East Street were still in breach of limits five years on from when it was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

The council is responsible for monitoring pollution levels of AQMAs and coming up with an action plan to tackle the issue.

Head of public health Jeanette Guy told councillors that central to the action plan for Dorchester was the Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan (DTEP), which is currently being revised by Dorset County Council after the latest proposals proved unpopular with residents.

She said: “In Dorchester levels continue to exceed the objectives at facades of properties along High East Street.

“An Air Quality Management Area and action plan are in place.

“We have been working with Dorset County Council on the implementation of the DTEP to make sure any proposals they have do not compromise air quality objectives across Dorchester in the future.”

Earlier this year the county council agreed to spend six months looking at possible alternatives for the DTEP scheme and warned if no suitable solutions could be found it could abandon the scheme altogether.

Councillor Alan Thacker said at the executive committee meeting: “It’s very difficult in Dorchester – we wait another six months before DTEP is looked at again but it needs major traffic changes.”

Town councillor David Taylor said the fact that the pollution levels are still high in the town centre shows the need for a workable DTEP solution to be found quickly.

He said: “We know we have got this problem so let’s sort it out.

“My concern is the fact that residents live down High East Street and the pollution levels are just devastating.

“We have got young families and older people there.”

Cllr Taylor said he was not surprised that the levels had not reduced as no action had been taken in the area, particularly on issues like lorries stopping to make deliveries during busy times.

He said: “I knew it was going to be bad, there was no way it was going to be good.

“For the safety of residents and citizens of Dorchester this is urgent and needs to be sorted out.”