Children walking to school

Witney and Chipping Norton focus for air quality survey

West Oxfordshire District Council wants residents’ views on air quality and how we manage it in Witney and Chipping Norton. We would like to hear what you think of the measures that we believe will improve the quality of the air we breathe, via a survey that will run from Monday 5 June to Friday 14 July 2023.   

Lidia Arciszewska, Executive Member for Environment said, “Air quality in West Oxfordshire is generally good, with the vast majority of the district complying with the UK objectives set by DEFRA.  However, in both Witney and Chipping Norton, the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have exceeded the Government objectives. As a consequence, Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) have been declared in both towns.

“It is a priority for us to create better environments, which enable a good quality of life for residents and by taking part in this survey you will help us to understand if our approach to the management of air quality is on the right track.” 

In Witney, the AQMA extends the length of Bridge Street and the northern section of High Street, from the junction with Witan Way to Bridge Street.  In Chipping Norton, the AQMA extends from Banbury Road, through Horsefair, Market Place, and West Street.  The high concentrations of NO2 are a consequence of the volume of traffic travelling through the town centres and the resulting congestion.  This is worsened by the presence of street canyons at both locations.  Street canyons are a stretch of road, often narrow, where there is a continuous line of buildings on either side.  This essentially traps vehicle emissions, causing a build-up within the space.

To address the elevated NO2 concentrations in both Witney and Chipping Norton, West Oxfordshire District Council is required to develop an Air Quality Action Plan for each town.  The AQAPs have been drafted with the assistance of Ricardo Energy & Environment, and consultation with Steering Groups comprising key stakeholders who live, work or represent businesses operating in each town. 

It’s now your turn to have a say.  The AQAPs for Witney and Chipping Norton can be viewed online at, or you can view a paper copy at Witney Town Hall, Market Square, Witney, OX28 6AG or The Guildhall, Chipping Norton, OX7 5NJ (open Mon – Fri, 9am – 1pm).

The proposed measures are presented in Section 5 of each AQAP – please read through the measures and send us your comments, either directly to [email protected] with the subject  ‘AQAP Feedback’, or complete our questionnaire, found at 

We encourage everyone to take part and help us to make sure that the measures we propose are the right ones for Witney and Chipping Norton. 

Contact Information

West Oxfordshire District Council Communications Team

[email protected]