Two local authorities have published detailed plans for measures to tackle air pollution in their areas before the end of the decade.
Winchester city council in Hampshire and the London Borough of Croydon have both targeted a reduction in emissions from delivery vehicles within their proposals – while Croydon has also sought to reduce emissions from construction activities taking place within the borough.
The two authorities join Greenwich and East Hertfordshire to have launched plans in recent weeks.
Through the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) system local authorities are required to assess air quality in their area and designate Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) if improvements are necessary.
Where an AQMA is designated, local authorities are required to produce an air quality Action Plan describing the pollution reduction measures it will put in place.
Winchester’s plan was launched at a ‘clean air picnic’ last week (16 June), attended by local school children who had designed communications material including posters and graphics.
The Air Quality Action Plan for Winchester was approved by the council’s Cabinet in April, and measures including the introduction of differentiated parking charges and restrictions on delivery vehicles and the development of planning guidance which requires developers to consider the impact on air quality of any proposed new schemes for the city centre.
Speaking at the event last week Councillor Jan Warwick, Winchester’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “The council has an obligation to meet national air quality standards and we have worked with a wide range of stakeholder organisations over the past 18 months developing the Air Quality Action Plan and making a start on delivering key actions.
“These pupils at St Bede’s, as Winchester residents of the future, have a vested interest in protecting our environment. Events like this show that we can be confident they are able to inspire, pester or cajole their families and the wider community to change habits and help reduce levels of harmful emissions in the air around us.â€?
Croydon’s air quality plan is being launched for consultation at a summit on Monday (26 June), and includes a focus on freight and service-delivery vehicles and construction sites.
The council is seeking to reduce the number of delivery vehicles travelling through the borough is working with local business and retailers to find out how goods and services are and will be delivered, and what issues they expect to encounter.
To address the issue of emissions produced by construction sites and construction vehicles, the council has implemented a town-centre construction logistics plan setting out measures to manage and communicate what is being done to ensure that visitors, residents and businesses can continue to function.
Commenting on the proposals, Councillor Stuart King, Croydon’s cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “The quality of the air we breathe has a huge impact on our quality of life. Pollution impacts everyone’s health and well-being, but it has a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable, such as children, older people and those with health conditions. Improving air quality is vital if we want to make Croydon not only cleaner and greener but also safer.
“The council’s committed to reducing the exposure of people in Croydon to poor air quality in order to improve health. We’re asking residents to work with us and I hope everyone will get involved by taking part in the Air Quality Action Plan consultation to help us draw up our plan of action.â€? – Councillor Stuart King, Croydon
“However, we can’t do this in isolation. We strongly support the Mayor of London’s plans to improve air quality across the capital and his call for government to give local authorities greater power to tackle the problem. It’s time to work with him, our local partners and the community to achieve real change.
“The council’s committed to reducing the exposure of people in Croydon to poor air quality in order to improve health. We’re asking residents to work with us and I hope everyone will get involved by taking part in the Air Quality Action Plan consultation to help us draw up our plan of action.â€?