THE whole of Worcester will be become an air quality management area in a bid to tackle high levels of pollution, if councillors approve plans next week.

A brand new air quality management area (AQMA) would be created for the entirety of the city when a final decision is made next Monday (December 10).

Local authorities are required to monitor air quality in its area and to declare an air quality management area (AQMA) when national objectives are not met or unlikely to be met.

As nitrogen dioxide levels exceeded the national target of 40mg/m2 for three consecutive years, the city council was forced to respond.

The city already has three existing AQMAs in St John's, Dolday and one in Lowesmoor and Rainbow Hill.

All three would be revoked as part of the new plan and incorporated into the city-wide AQMA.

Only last year, the Worcester News reported that pollutant levels were breached in London Road, Foregate Street, The Tything, Castle Street, The Butts and Sansome Place with congestion fumes blamed for the high levels of pollution and poor air quality.

Having discussed various options in January, councillors opted for the radical choice of declaring the entire city area as an AQMA - despite pollution levels being lower than the legal level in some areas.

A three-month long consultation from April was announced following the January decision by the council's licensing and environmental health committee but only two replies were received from Highways England and the county council's highways team.

A report, to be discussed at the meeting on December 10, said the declaration of an AQMA is "only the start" of improving air quality in the city and "ambitious solutions" will be needed to tackle the problem.

The report said: "The reduction of poor air quality within the city will require ambitious solutions.

"Declaration of an air quality management area of this scale is seen as the fist steps in planning a city wide solution to the problem which will positively impact all aspects of transport planning in and around the city."