Bath & North East Somerset is among the first councils to have been handed funding from the government’s £255 million Air Quality Implementation Fund, in order to assess options to tackle nitrogen dioxide emissions within the borough.
The council is one of 29 named within the government’s nitrogen dioxide plan as having to draw up proposals to tackle air pollution locally, with a December 2018 deadline for proposals to be approved.
Funding was set aside for councils to implement measures needed to tackle air pollution, including around £40 million which has been made available to local authorities immediately.
Within Bath & North East Somerset an area around the A4 London Road has been identified as the area in need of action, and the council has said it will consider a “wide range of measures” in order to reduce emissions within the zone.
Council officers will be in talks with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) over potential proposals within the coming weeks, before submitting a draft plan for approval by March.
Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development, said: “I welcome the announcement by Defra of additional resources to help Bath & North East Somerset Council tackle air pollution across the whole area with particular focus on the A4.
“We know that there is increasing evidence that air quality has an important effect on public health, the economy and the environment and tackling vehicle emissions and improving air quality is one of the most urgent challenges in towns and cities across the UK.
“We understand that congestion in the centre of the Bath and high levels on some arterial routes remain a particular problem but these are not the only cause of emissions as it is a complex picture there is no one simple answer and officers will be looking at a wide range of measures over the coming months.”
Cllr Goodman also announced that, in addition to drawing up the plan and the business case, the authority would also be consulting on the planned review of the Bath Air Quality Action Plan.
This follows consultation and work with local stakeholder groups who were asked for their ideas on how to improve air quality in the city. The groups have helped to develop a list of proposals which will be published as part of the formal consultation process necessary to update the Action Plan.