Swindon Borough Council says it is taking the quality of the air in town very seriously.

Yesterday the Adver revealed the worrying findings of a study by think tank Centre for Cities, which said the proportion of deaths due to air pollution was higher than any other major urban area in the South West.

Initially, cabinet member for public protection Cathy Martyn said officers were looking hard at the figures, which didn’t seem to chime with the council’s.

Subsequently a spokesman said the authority was working to reduce pollution in the area where it was worst, Kingshill.

A statement read: “We fully acknowledge the health impacts of poor air quality and we are taking positive steps towards ensuring that the air in Swindon is as clean as it possibly can be.

“Last year, the council published its air quality action plan for the whole town, which outlines the strategy for tackling air pollution over the next five years. Air quality in Swindon is generally very good. Like other towns and cities, however, some areas are not as good, and these are generally associated with busy traffic routes and areas where houses lie close to the kerb.

“The air quality management area that has been declared for a small stretch of Kingshill Road is, it’s important to note, the only one in Swindon and our air quality management plan sets out the ways in which we are trying to improve air quality, particularly on this road.

“Public protection is a major priority for this council and we are keen to promote electric vehicles, cycling, walking and public transport as suitable alternatives to cars. Not only would this improve air quality, it will improve people’s general health and wellbeing, so there are positive benefits for everyone.”

The council is currently consulting the public on its plans to improve the air in the Kingshill air quality management area.

Ideas include signs discouraging drivers from using the road and restricting heavy lorries from using the hill.

Plans are available at swindon.gov.uk/airquality, or at Wat Tyler House and in council-run libraries. The consultation runs until 3 February.

Anyone with further questions on the draft plan can email airquality@swindon.gov.uk