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Thanet council consults on air quality action plan

Eight key measures put forward for consultation by council in Kent in order to meet national nitrogen dioxide emissions standards by 2015

Thanet district council in Kent is consulting on new measures to tackle air pollution, outlined in a new draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).

The plan focusses largely on tackling air pollution in two areas in the district, the High Street St Lawrence in Ramsgate and The Square in Birchington, which have regularly exceeded the national recommended objective for mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

St Lawrence mini roundabout in Thanet is one of the places within the Urban AQMA set up by the council

St Lawrence mini roundabout in Thanet is one of the areas within the AQMA set up by the council

Both are junctions with heavy traffic on main routes coming into Thanet and Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) were established for both areas. However, on November 17 2011, a larger Urban Air Quality Management area was declared encompassing both areas in order to create a broader strategy for the problem.

As part of the draft plan, the council is aiming for a 20% reduction in nitrogen dioxide concentrations from 2009 levels by 2015 in order to meet national objectives for these areas.

However, although air pollution in most areas of Thanet falls below national nitrogen dioxide limits of 40 micrograms per cubic metre, there are 41 other areas within Kent that exceed this, according to the council.

Draft measures

As a result, the council has put forward eight key measures to tackle air pollution in its draft AQAP, which include the promotion of sustainable methods of travel, the redirection of HGV and freight vehicles from hotspots and the investigation of traffic lights implementation or other means of improving traffic flow.

Other proposed measures include improved enforcement of unlawful on-street parking in the hotspots, schemes to promote a greater use of public transport, a review of existing cycling and pedestrian routes and improved facilities for cyclists.
Also, the council intends to review and add to existing car share, car club, and school and work travel plans in a bid to reduce traffic and emissions.

Michelle Fenner, cabinet member for business, corporate and regulatory services at the council, said: “Using guidance from the Government, and by working with Kent county council, TDC has produced an ‘Air Quality Action Plan’ which sets out how the council intends to work on tackling pollution issues and towards achieving its air quality objectives.â€?

She added: “Rather than being a piecemeal approach, which could just shift problems around, this plan looks at the whole of Thanet strategically as an ‘Air Quality Management Area’, rather than just at the problems sites individually. This is a really good opportunity to have your say on the ways in which we are looking at making the area even better for residents and tourists alike.â€?

The public consultation on the draft AQAP runs from January 17 until March 14 2013. It will also take in views from organisations and public bodies, including Kent county council, Defra, the Highways Agency, local bus operators, local businesses and the Environment Agency.

Information on how to respond to the consultation is available on the Thanet district council website.

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Raymond in Broadstairs

Great to see an effort in combating the issue! 🙂