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Defra funding sought for North Devon air pollution modelling

North Devon council will need additional air pollution modelling to assess measures put forward in draft Braunton Action Plan

North Devon council hopes to have its final Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) approved for the village of Braunton by April 2015, although it is seeking grant funding from Defra to cover the costs of additional air pollution modelling.

It follows a public consultation on the draft AQAP last year (see airqualitynews.com story), which according to the council prompted 70 responses, largely concerning traffic management issues which are the legal responsibility of Devon county council to progress.

It is hoped that Braunton's Air Quality Action Plan will be in place by April 2015

It is hoped that Braunton’s Air Quality Action Plan will be in place by April 2015

There has been a steady increase in nitrogen dioxide levels in Braunton and an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was declared in June 2011, running from the square to the village green.

The councils Further Assessment of air pollution levels found that 90.52% of the total nitrogen oxides present at the worst case site in the AQMA was attributable to road sources, and that a 22.3% reduction in road NOx was required to achieve the national objective for this pollutant.

However, in order to assess the effectiveness of the measures put forward in the AQAP to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels, a report to the councils executive yesterday (January 6) anticipates that further air quality modelling would need to be undertaken at extra cost.

The report states that, dependent on whether modelling is undertaken by council officers or external consultants: Initial quotes received regarding this modelling suggest that the potential cost would be between 2,500 and 4,500.

Subject to funding still being available, the council intends to apply for a grant to cover these costs, noting that Defra has previously awarded grant funding to the council to cover the set up and ongoing costs associated with the additional monitoring.

Meanwhile, the government is currently consulting on plans to streamline local authority air quality monitoring requirements, which would mean councils only preparing a single annual improvement status report instead of further assessments, updating and screening assessments, detailed assessments and progress reports (see airqualitynews.com story).

AQAP

North Devon councils draft AQAP for Braunton outlines ten options to help reduce the air pollution, including improvements to public transport, ideas for a park and ride scheme and an upgrade of traffic lights to help the flow of traffic.

The measures identified in the draft AQAP are:

  • Upgrading of the traffic signals at The Square to MOVA (Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation) which will improve traffic flow
  • Installation of traffic lights by the Williams Arms
  • Park & ride facility at Wrafton / Chivenor
  • Reducing on street parking
  • Implementation of school / work travel plans
  • Fleet partnerships working with local companies to encourage cleaning of their fleet vehicles
  • Producing travel packs for holiday accommodation
  • Off peak delivery times
  • Improving Public Transport
  • Development of supplementary planning guidance note re: air quality

The AQAP was developed by a working group comprised of environmental health and transport officers from the North Devon and Devon councils.

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