SOMETIMES the news baffles. There is occasionally no rhyme or reason, and the declaration of pollution in the centre of Bedale on a scale that special measures have to be brought in through an Air Quality Management Area, is undoubtedly one of those times. With the creation of a £34m bypass, the actual need of which was questioned, and the consequent 50 per cent reduction in traffic, particularly the high polluters such as heavy wagons, it seems astonishing that there is suddenly a need to create the first AQMA Hambleton District Council has ever had to make.

And where do we go from here? Apparently an action plan is now put together with measures to reduce or improve traffic flow. Maybe another bypass in some other direction should be built. It's very tricky in the heart of a historic market town to see where you could divert traffic flow too, especially as that's why they built the new 'relief road' in the first place.

What is concerning is the street is used as a walking route to school for countless parents and children. It is a narrow street with fears of road safety always more pressing previously than pollution.There were no facts or figures with the press release which brought the surprising news, we've asked for enlightenment and await with interest.

AQMAs come under the auspices of Defra and there's a whole list of them on their website. Some neighbouring areas are mentioned - Harrogate has two, York City four, Scarborough and Selby one each, some going back years. These seem more likely candidates than Bedale, but that really is the point - now we know we haven't got it we want our clean air back and ASAP.