Oxford City Council has set out plans to go significantly further than the current legal target for air pollution to improve the health of those living, working, and visiting the city.
It is believed that Oxford City Council will become the first UK local authority to set out a city-wide air pollution reduction target within its own draft Air Quality Action Plan.
The action plan seeks to go further than the legal annual mean limit value for NO2 of 40 µg/m3, with a new local annual mean NO2 target of 30 µg/m3 by 2025.
Oxford has seen an average reduction of 26% in NO2, 31% in Particulate Matter (PM10) and 36% in Particulate Matter (PM2.5) at sites where air quality monitoring has been in place since 2013.
The new Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025 outlines the actions that the Council will take to improve air quality in Oxford City between the years 2021 to 2025, building on its previous Air Quality Action Plan.
37 of Britain’s 43 air quality zones are exceeding the legal limits for the main harmful pollutant of concern; NO2. This action plan moves Oxford beyond the focus upon achieving local compliance with air quality targets, by volunteering to set a target that is stricter than the legal target.
The Air Quality Action Plan has been produced as part of the Council’s statutory duty required by the Local Air Quality Management framework.
The Air Quality Action Plan 2021-2025 is to be presented to the Council’s Scrutiny committee on 1 September, and will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on 9 September.
The public consultation on the document will also begin in September.
‘Through the city council’s measures we have helped to reduce the most concerning air pollutant by 26% over the last seven years,’ says cabinet member for green transport and zero carbon Oxford, Cllr Tom Hayes.
‘We need to go further and faster to clean air and stronger public health—as such Oxford City Council is setting a new Air Quality Action Plan which, for the first time, sets a target for the reduction of air pollution, indeed a significantly stricter target than the Government’s own target.
‘We believe that it is the first time any UK local authority has set a city-wide air pollution reduction target while discharging the statutory duty to create an action plan. By setting a stricter target than the government’s own target, we believe we are doubling down on our commitment to clean air, public health, and social justice,’ added Cllr Hayes.
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