Traffic lights along key routes will have devices fitted to track air quality.

The sensors will be fitted on five sets of traffic lights across the St Helens borough, with 37 in total across the whole Liverpool City Region.

The sensors will give real time updates on air quality and can divert traffic if air pollution becomes too high in a certain area.

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Busy routes across St Helens borough will be fitted with the devices, these are: A58 Borough Road/Prescot Road, A58 Linkway West, A580 East Lancashire Road (Pewfall), and M62 J7, Rainhill and A49 Church Road in Newton-le-Willows.

According to St Helens Council, poor air quality is reportedly responsible for 800 deaths a year in Merseyside.

St Helens Council claim that the devices 'allow traffic flow to be managed, and even diverted, to help avoid serious congestion and reduce harmful emissions particularly in built up areas most affected by air pollution.'

Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “In partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, we have secured significant funding opportunities for the delivery of improvements to our local public transport network and are working hard to deliver these on the ground.

How the sensors will look attached to traffic lights
How the sensors will look attached to traffic lights

“We have a £17.6m pipeline of active and sustainable transport infrastructure works due to be delivered by March 2023 including major enhancements at Lea Green station and a supporting network of quality walking and cycling infrastructure. This is on top of measures such as the £19m redevelopment of Newton-le-Willows station in 2019 and the provision of 3.2km of high-quality cycling infrastructure delivered in 2020.

“And soon we’ll be host to the Liverpool City Region’s new publicly owned hydrogen buses on the 10/10A route between Liverpool and St Helens, coupled with multi-million pound investment to improve the quality and reliability of bus journeys on this key corridor.

“These investments, and many more like them, will help to make public and active transport modes safer, more reliable and more attractive options for everyday trips, contributing to the council’s ambition for net zero carbon emissions by 2040.”

A report from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: "“The sensors will have the ability to detect in real-time (every 10-15 seconds) the levels of Nitric Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone and Particulate Matter (PM1, PM2.5 and PM10) and feed into the Local Authorities’ traffic management systems via their 6 individual “Stratos” traffic control systems.”"

The scheme comes as St Helens Borough Council committed to achieve net zero carbon by 2040 in an attempt to help fight climate change.

The sensors are set to be installed by spring 2022.