Poor air quality in parts of High Wycombe and Marlow will be tackled by Wycombe District Council following reports that pollution levels in some areas are more than 70 per cent above the national target.

Two new air quality management areas (AQMA) have been declared covering major roads in both towns in a bid to bring the pollution levels down.

In High Wycombe, some of the roads included in the management area includes West Wycombe Road, Abbey Way, Marlow Hill, Easton Street, London Road and the M40 junction three slip road in Loudwater.

In Marlow, the High Street, West Street, Spittal Street, Chapel Street and Little Marlow Road are included.

The new AQMAs were initially proposed after a modelling exercise with air quality monitoring data showed areas which were likely to exceed the national air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide.

Small amendments were made to the proposed areas as a result of feedback from a six week public consultation in autumn last year and were officially adopted at the end of December.

Cllr Julia Adey, Wycombe District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “By officially declaring two new air quality management areas, we are taking positive and proactive steps to tackle poor air quality for people who visit, live and work in the Wycombe district.

“I was very impressed by the range of comments that we received from local residents, community organisations and businesses during the consultation.

“All made positive suggestions for ways we can improve air quality for everyone, from improving pavements and encouraging walking, to tackling idling engines and restricting HGV access.

“The hard work starts now, as we create an action plan with our partners which takes all of these comments into consideration and improves air quality as soon as possible.”

As well as the two new AQMAs, the existing M40 AQMA has been made smaller. While it still runs the whole length of the M40 through the district, the width of the area on either side of the carriageway has been “significantly” reduced.