Nottingham city council has opened the consultation into its plans to improve air quality in the city in order to achieve compliance with legal emissions limits.
The city was one of five ordered by government to explore the need for a Clean Air Zone to meet legal limits for the emission of nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant that is largely produced by road traffic sources.
After analysis of potential options the city council has concluded that a Clean Air Zone will not be necessary as modelling has suggested measures including bus retrofits and stricter requirements for taxi drivers will bring it into compliance with the limit in a shorter timeframe.
According to the council, these measures will reduce Nitrogen Dioxide emissions to less than a maximum annual average of 40Î¼g/m3Â in 2019.
Options being proposed instead of a Clean Air Zone include enforcement of anti-idling legislation, a city wide Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), in order to bring about further improvements in air quality.
As well as this, the council is proposing to toughen the requirements of its â€˜Clear Zoneâ€™ an area within the centre of the city which is closed to general traffic during parts of the day to prioritise pedestrian access.
According to documents published as part of the consultation, the city council is currently in the process of revising its Clear Zone policy, with restrictions to be extended to operate over a 24-hour period and for the zone itself will cover a larger geographic area.
â€œNew restrictions on parking and waiting will be aligned with emissions criteriaâ€, the council added.
Commenting on the proposals, which were launched for consultation on Friday (3 August), Councillor Sally Longford, Nottinghamâ€™s Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said: â€œThe city council has a strong track record in improving air quality, having made significant investment to improve public transport, including the tram network, and electric and gas-powered bus fleets, supported by the Workplace Parking Levy.
â€œWeâ€™re also promoting the use of cleaner vehicles through a range of projects, and have invested heavily in the cityâ€™s cycle network.
â€œItâ€™s thanks to this that regular air monitoring has shown falling levels of air pollution, and more projects already under way will bring this down further â€“ enough to meet the targets set by the Government and, enough that it is no longer necessary to introduce a Clean Air Zone.
â€œThat said, we donâ€™t want to rest on our laurels, and there is more we can do. In a survey earlier this year, 88% of respondents said reducing air pollution should be a priority for the council. Further proposals are included in the consultation, and Iâ€™d encourage anyone with an interest to take part. We want to hear from residents, businesses and people who donâ€™t live here but come to Nottingham for work or to visit.â€
The consultation will run from Friday 3 August until Monday 10 September. Responses will then shape the councilâ€™s final Local Plan to Improve Air Quality in Nottingham, to be submitted for approval by the Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove, later this year.
Nottingham Air Quality Consultation