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Agenda item

Air Quality Strategy

As resolved at the Environment Select Committee on 6 November 2018, the Committee to consider the Council's 'Air Quality Strategy' ahead of Cabinet's consideration.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Director of Public Health and Public Protection seeking the views of the Committee on the draft Air Quality Strategy prior to public consultation and subsequent consideration by Cabinet.

 

Cllr Ben Anderson, Portfolio holder for Public Health and Public Protection introduced the report and explained that local authorities had a duty to monitor air quality within their areas having regard to national air quality objectives and standards and report this information to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs annually. The existing Wiltshire Air Quality Strategy needs to be refreshed as it was originally published in 2011. He explained that Wiltshire enjoyed good air quality in the vast majority of its towns and villages. However, there were currently eight Air Quality Management Areas in Wiltshire where traffic related pollution levels exceeded national standards. The areas included Bradford on Avon, Calne, Devizes, Marlborough, Salisbury (3) and Westbury.

 

The Committee noted that it was generally difficult to achieve improvements in air quality as they rely on individuals, businesses and communities changing their travel behaviour. Given this, the strategy recognised that improving areas of poor air quality can only be achieved by working collaboratively across the council, and with local communities and other relevant organisations and agencies.

 

Cllr Jerry Wickham, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection, and Cllr Ben Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Public Protection responded to a number of issues and comments from the Committee.  In particular, the following issues and comments were raised:

 

·         Concern about the increase in Air Quality Management Areas from 4 to 8 over the last few years and the need to implement plans to see improvements in the air quality in those areas.

·         Details about local community action plans not specified in the Strategy document.

·         It was recognised that poor air quality across Wiltshire was due to standing traffic in towns.

·         The need for the Air Quality Strategy outcomes to be connected to the Transport Strategy.

·         Encourage the measurement and consideration of particulates below 2.5 in the Strategy.

·         The connection between the Air Quality Strategy and other Council Strategies.

·         Discussions required at a local level and encourage input from communities in measuring air quality to make it easier for the Council to respond.

·         Encourage lobbying for additional funds and monitoring of air quality in appropriate areas.

·         Lack of financial support from the Government to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles and accelerate the move to cleaner transport.

·         Difficulties of measuring down to 2.5micons to be included in the Strategy.

 

Cllr Oldrieve, seconded by Cllr Murry, moved that the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection and Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Public Protection to review the Strategy before submitting it to the Cabinet for approval and for the Strategy to include a response to Wiltshire’s air quality on a risk basis, as well as how the Council would specifically tackle the 8 Air Quality Management Areas.  The move was not supported by the majority of the Committee.

 

Cllr Anderson confirmed that he would take into account a number of comments made by the Committee and incorporate them in the Strategy where appropriate.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    Notes the draft strategy.

 

2.    Agrees for the comments from the Committee to be incorporated in to the draft document, as detailed below:

 

a.    Monitoring of air quality by communities.

b.    To highlight in the Air Quality Strategy the links to other Council Strategies.

c.    Focus more on monitoring of air quality

 

3.    Approves the strategy being considered by the Health and Wellbeing Board prior to approval by Cabinet.

Supporting documents:

 

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