ACTION to clear up the district's most polluted road will be "challenging" Maldon District Council has said.

The council released a letter to residents, stating action to improve the air quality on Market Hill is underway, however it will be difficult to achieve.

The letter said: "Given the context of Market Hill (steep gradient and "street canyoning" caused by buildings in close proximity to the road) raised levels of nitrogen dioxide are largely a feature of the topography of the road and how heavily used it is.

"These features in particular will make devising implementable changes challenging."

Following a report from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that across the country could have "direct health effects" on the community, however it is "difficult to identify" what those effects might be.

The council has been told by Defra it must prepare an Air Quality Plan (AQAP) before December 2019.

The plan will identify "measures to improve air quality in the location and will be implemented

wherever realistically possible."

The letter added: "A Steering Group consisting of a number of external partners, agencies and council officers will meet at various times in the coming months to take this process forward.

"As part of the later stages in development of the plan, there will be consultation with residents on the suggested options."