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Thanet adopts new Air Quality Action Plan

Thanet district council in Kent has approved a new Air Quality Action Plan for 2013 after a public consultation on the plan ended in March

A new Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for 2013 has been approved by members of the cabinet at Thanet district council in Kent.

According to the council, air quality in Thanet is “generally goodâ€? and “is improvingâ€?, but the AQAP has identified areas in Birchington and St. Lawrence as exceeding national objectives for air quality.

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 places within the Urban AQMA set up by the district council

The High Street St. Lawrence in Ramsgate and The Square in Birchington have previously been designated as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs), as  both are junctions with heavy traffic and have regularly exceeded the national recommended objective for mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

However, a larger urban AQMA was declared in November 2011, which encompassed both areas in order to create a broader strategy for tackling air quality problems. It is one of more than 40 AQMAs across Kent.

As a result, the council is obliged under section 84 of the Environment Act 1995 to produce an AQAP, with a deadline to submit the plan to Defra of April 2013.

Key measures

The new plan, which was approved by cabinet on April 25, puts forward various key measures for the next 12 months to try and tackle air pollution, including improving the movement of freight; encouraging public transport use; and promoting car sharing, travel planning, cycling and walking.

The AQAP also includes measures on parking enforcement; development planning; investigating traffic signal and junction configuration; and looking into feasibility studies and funding.

Earlier this year, the council put the AQAP out for consultation with residents, public bodies and organisations. The consultation ran from January 17 2013 until March 14 2013 (see airqualitynews.com story).

Harvey Patterson, corporate and regulatory services manager at Thanet district council, said: “The air quality in Thanet is generally good and it reflects a national picture in that it is improving, although there are two locations where concentrations of traffic currently cause the level of a pollutant called nitrogen dioxide (NO2) to be higher than is desirable.

“It is therefore essential that we set in motion these initiatives to ensure the population of Thanet’s health and well-being is protected.â€?

More information on air quality in Thanet is available on the district council website.

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