Canterbury city council is asking residents to report ‘excessively smoky’ lorry or bus exhausts as part of its new plan to address air pollution.
Councillors voted to adopt the ‘comprehensive’ five-year plan at a meeting last week (14 November), which sets out steps that the council is proposing to take to improve air quality.
The local authority is also asking residents to contribute to efforts to deliver cleaner air, in particular by reducing engine idling, using public transport, walking or cycling at least one day a week on journeys to school, and through increased usage of the city’s park and ride system.
The authority will also promote the use of the DVSA’s smoky lorry or bus reporting tool in a bid to discourage the use of polluting vehicles in the district.
In addition the council will adopt powers to issue penalty notices to deter engine idling, review the travel of its own stuff to encourage modal shift away from cars, as well as promoting the use of low emission taxis within the city.
In the plan, Canterbury council notes that road traffic emissions producing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) along major roads are the main source of the issues in relation to compliance with air quality standards.
The council has a target to encourage 5.7% modal shift away from private car use for workplace travel over the five years of the strategy.
Commenting on the plan, Councillor Simon Cook, leader of the council and chairman of the policy and resources committee which approved the proposals, said: “Improving air quality is a key priority for the council and we will do all we can in those areas we can directly influence.
“But everyone has a role to play. Residents, businesses, hauliers, Kent county council, other public sector bodies, the higher and further education sector, schools, public transport providers and the NHS all have a role to play. Of course, this list is not exhaustive.
“There are some small things we can all do today that, when combined, should have a big impact.
“Five years is a long time so we stand ready to take advantage of any new ideas that might come along and advances in technology or our understanding.”
Other measures included in the plan include work to improve cycle routes across the district, increasing park and ride capacity, promoting the development of park and ride capacity, as well as reviewing the use of wood burning stoves and exploring the expansion of an existing smoke control area.
Canterbury city council – Air Quality Action Plan