The coast off Eastbourne will soon become a nitrogen oxide emissions control area under international law to help improve the town’s air quality, MP Caroline Ansell was told in parliament.

Transport minister Robert Courts told Caroline the zone will take effect from 1st January 2021 as part of the government’s commitment to international efforts to reduce pollution from ships, including through the London-based International Maritime Organisation.

The English Channel and the North Sea are in the zone and the move will reduce particulate (PM2.5) matter emanating from the very busy channel shipping lanes.

Eastbourne suffers from air pollution blowing across from the continent and the channel. Concentrations of PM2.5 in England have declined by 22%, but in Eastbourne levels have increased due to this pollution coming over.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Caroline told MPs: “My beautiful coastal constituency of Eastbourne and Willingdon is susceptible to particulate matter emanating from the very busy channel shipping lanes.

“The maritime strategy and the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan are hugely important domestic policies, but this problem obviously demands an international response and international change.

“Will my honourable friend assure the House that the government is equally committed to working at the international level to see the improvements we need in air quality in my home town?

In reply, the minister said: “I am glad to confirm that the government is committed to international efforts to reduce pollution from ships.

“I am pleased to be able to inform my honourable friend that from 1 January 2021, the channel and North Sea, including the East Sussex coast, will be designated a nitrogen oxide emissions control area under international law.

“I thank her for her continued outstanding advocacy for clean air in her constituency and across the UK.”

Speaking afterwards Caroline added: “Improving air quality is an important part of my commitment to our town and my work with the government. This is really positive news because an international response is the only way Eastbourne will truly experience cleaner air.

“I will now be pushing for enhanced scientific monitoring to take place to see if this new emissions zone will make a difference to air quality in our town.

“It is unacceptable we have to deal with this particulate pollution and I thank the government for acting in partnership with the international community to do something about it.”