Northchurch air quality box that has never been switched on branded ‘horrid waste of space’

Richard Plant and the grey box in Northchurch High Street.
Richard Plant and the grey box in Northchurch High Street.

AN air quality monitoring device installed in a pollution hotspot has been branded a “ridiculous waste of space” by one of its neighbours.

Richard Plant, 66, of Northchurch High Street, has been complaining to Dacorum Borough Council about the grey box since it was installed on the village green almost four years ago.

It was installed in what the group designated an Air Quality Management Area after discovering it had the third highest pollution levels out of anywhere in the district.

Council officers measured 45 microgrammes per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide there.

But Mr Plant says nothing has been done since as they couldn’t decide who should pay for the electricity to run the box.

He said: “For two years they have had it there and they cannot decide where to plug it in. It is just ridiculous.

“It is incredibly bad planning.

“The machine itself is a huge, ugly but highly expensive grey box on a little green, which is now succumbing to rust and occasional graffiti.

“It is bonkers – they have completely cocked it up.

“The air quality problem is caused by a narrow section of the High Street in-between terraced houses – but the box itself is in a green surrounded by open air.

“It is an eyesore, a horrible thing, and it was probably put in the wrong place anyway.

“Maybe they could just take the machine away, sell it and give the taxpayer his money back.”

Dacorum Borough Council spokesman Leida Smith said the box was installed to monitor air quality in July 2008, but has never been turned on.

She said the person responsible for the project is unavailable to explain why, but added that the box has no power supply has been linked up to it.