Cheshire West and Chester council has outlined plans for a low emission strategy that aims to address air pollution within the borough, and includes examining the feasibility of establishing clean air zones.
Published for consultation last week, residents of the borough have been given until January 2018 to have their say on the proposals.
According to the local authority, air quality in the borough is â€˜generally goodâ€™ but the annual mean air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide was exceeded at 24 of 60 diffusion tube monitoring locations in 2015.
Cheshire West and Chester, which contains the city of Chester, as well as the towns of Ellesmere Port, Neston and Frodsham has a population of around 333,900, three quarters of which is concentrated in urban areas.
There are currently three Air Quality Management Areas in the borough where nitrogen dioxide exceedances have been detected – in Chester city centre, in the Whitby Road/Station Road area of Ellesmere Port and in a small area in Frodsham at the junction of Fluin Lane and the A56.
The councilâ€™s strategy has been based upon three principles for reducing emissions – shift, avoid, improve â€“ which includes measures aimed at shifting road users towards public transport, walking and cycling, reducing emissions from vehicles and construction and improving the vehicle technology used in the borough to improve emissions.
Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore, said: â€œThere is a much better understanding now of the impact that air pollution can have on peopleâ€™s health â€“ for many of us the effects are minimal but they can be greater for some of our most vulnerable residents such as children, the elderly and those with health conditions.
â€œItâ€™s vital therefore that we have a clear plan of how we will work to reduce pollution levels and ensure that our air meets the required levels over the coming years and weâ€™d like to hear our residentsâ€™ views on the Strategy proposals.
â€œI would urge anyone who would like to help shape our Strategy, particularly those living within or close to a current Air Quality Management Area, to make sure they have their say through the consultation.â€
Measures outlined in the strategy include examining the feasibility of introducing clean air zones within the borough, including the option to charge for the use of certain vehicles.
Also considered is the use of fixed penalty notices to prevent vehicle idling across the borough.
The council will also investigate the development of non-road mobile machinery standards (NRMM) in a bid to limit NOx emissions from construction and demolition equipment used within the borough, as well as working with developers to ensure that new construction projects do not lead to elevated emissions levels.
Plans are also in place to assess the requirements for greater uptake of low emission vehicles within the borough as well as measures to encourage the use of low emission buses by local bus operators.
Cheshire West and Chester – Draft Low Emission Strategy