FIVE air quality sensors will be installed on busy routes across St Helens with the aim of cutting congestion and reducing emissions.

The sensors will provide live information to highways management teams and linked to traffic signals to help reduce congestion and emissions.

The sensors, also located on major routes in neighbouring areas such as Knowsley, will give local authorities access to real-time updates on air quality on key roads for the first time.

Routes identified locally include A58 Borough Road/Prescot Road, St Helens A58 Linkway West, A580 East Lancashire Road (Pewfall), and M62 J7, Rainhill and A49 Church Road, Newton-le-Willows.

In a statement, St Helens Council said the technology will also be linked to Urban Traffic Control systems and signals that can be used to manage and divert traffic when pollution reaches elevated levels.

At a meeting of the region's combined authority it was agreed that technology company Siemens’ Yunex Traffic division, working with partners ‘EarthSense’, would be selected to supply, install and maintain the sensors following a tendering process. Funding for the project is being delivered through the region’s Transforming Cities Fund.

The devices will be fitted to traffic lights on 37 corridors and will monitor harmful gases and particulate matter.

The data will then be sent live to local authority highways management teams as they control traffic signals and electronic signage on major corridors.

This will 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.

St Helens Council says it aims to achieve net zero carbon by 2040 – a decade ahead of national targets – guided by an emerging Climate Change Response Plan, to be discussed by cabinet next week (Wednesday, November 10).