An air quality monitor has been installed at a traffic hotspot in Bradford on Avon as part of a wider initiative to tackle pollution in the town.

The device, one of four across the county, has been placed in Masons Lane and will give detailed readings of pollutants and will be the scientific evidence behind new moves to look at managing 21st century traffic around the historic streets.

The monitor has been switched on as part of wider plans to tackle air pollution which include a new working group set up by Wiltshire Council and the local community. The Bradford on Avon Air Quality Alliance will build on earlier successful initiatives including the Lorry Watch Scheme.

Maggie Rae, corporate director of health for Wiltshire Council, will be leading the first meeting of the alliance, and she said: “We know many journeys around Bradford on Avon cover only a few miles and we want to encourage people to think of using other forms of transport such as walking or cycling to get around. Placing this monitor at the busiest road in the town will give us detailed readings which can help inform future initiatives.”

Keith Humphries, cabinet member for public health and protection added: “Wiltshire is a beautiful rural county which doesn’t generally have issues with air quality. However, we know where there is a build-up of traffic there can be pollution. We are taking it seriously and doing what we can to monitor those spots. This monitor is the start of a concerted drive to look at new ways of tackling 21st century issues in this historic town.”

The Lorry Watch scheme, made up of volunteers has already secured four successful prosecutions against large lorries flouting the weight limit on the town bridge which can in turn cause back up traffic on other roads.

Active Travel Maps have also been created to encourage alternative forms of transport around the town