Councillors in the West Yorkshire borough Calderdale will discuss the implementation of a five-year low emission strategy alongside an air quality action plan intended to address air pollution within the region.
Spanning a region which includes towns such as Halifax, Brighouse Todmorden and Hebden Bridge, as well as a number of suburbs and villages the strategies will seek to encourage policies which alleviate the impact of traffic congestion on major roads within the borough.
Additionally, the Air Quality Action Plan sets out progress and further steps aimed at addressing emissions in seven Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) which have been set up by the council.
The council’s cabinet will meet on Monday (12 February) to discuss the proposals.
According to the authority, air pollution levels in Calderdale are ‘generally’ in line with air quality objectives, but levels of nitrogen dioxide in some areas of the borough exceed annual averages at peak congestion periods.
The main contributor to air pollution in the borough is thought to be road traffic – with proposals in the plan targeted at reducing congestion, improving traffic flow and encouraging the use of public transport, or encouraging other forms of active travel such as walking or cycling.
Measures to be explored through the strategy could include the introduction of a non-charging clean air zone as well as the potential for the roll-out of minimum standards for emissions for taxis and private hire vehicles registered in the borough.
Commenting on the plans the council’s cabinet member for planning, housing and environment, Cllr Daniel Sutherland, said: “The challenge of improving air quality in the borough is not an easy one, but it’s vital that we act now to ensure that we protect the health and well-being of our communities now and in the future.
“There isn’t just one solution to tackling air pollution, it’s reliant on a wide range of ideas, not only focusing on improving our road network, but also encouraging and improving our public transport offer and the infrastructure for walking and cycling.”
Calderdale council’s cabinet member for public health and inequalities, Cllr Faisal Shoukat, added: “It’s important that we raise awareness of the issue of air pollution and the impact it can have on people’s health. Knowing the dangers related to emissions, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions, can help to influence people’s travel behaviour and reduce private or single occupancy car use.
“We need everyone’s help to improve our air quality. Businesses, schools, car drivers and bus companies can all play their part and help us create a low emission future for Calderdale.”