To protect people’s health and the environment, local authorities have a duty to review and assess air quality to ensure it meets national air quality objectives. Where specific air quality targets are exceeded the Council must develop a plan to tackle the problem.
In common with many other areas of the country, the main source of pollution in Bath & North East Somerset is traffic and national air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide have been exceeded in some areas.
The Council currently has 3 Air Quality Management Areas in Bath, Keynsham and Saltford. Recommendations have been put forward and specific initiatives have been implemented to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide in these areas.
The Council’s current Air Quality Action Plan for Bath was drawn up over 5 years ago and, after collaboration with a number of stakeholder groups, an updated plan is now ready for formal consultation.
Cllr Bob Goodman, (Conservative, Combe Down) Cabinet Member for Development said: “This consultation comes at an important time for the issue of air quality, following the inclusion of Bath in the recently published National Air Quality Action Plan. It is vital local residents and businesses get involved and provide us with their comments and suggestions so we can shape an action plan which will help to protect public health in the future.”
Bath was included in the National Air Quality Plan as it is projected nitrogen dioxide targets will be exceeded in the city beyond 2021. This means that the Council must carry out a feasibility study which will explore a wide range of measures to improve air quality.
The Council will be able to draw from an £255 million Implementation Fund to carry out the initial feasibility study and officers are already in talks with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) about this.
As it is important that the review of the Bath Air Quality Action Plan properly reflects the results of the feasibility study, the final version of the plan will be delayed until at least Spring 2018.
The consultation will run for 3 months – from Monday 4 September 2017 to midnight on 26 November 2017 and documents can be found on the Council’s website http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/pollution/air-quality/action-plan where comments and suggestions can also be made.
There will be 3 drop-in sessions for members of the public to speak with the Council team and learn more about the proposed Bath Air Quality Action Plan:
- Tuesday 10 October 2-5pm, New Oriel Hall (Main Hall)
- Friday 13 October 2017 at the Bath City Conference, at the Guildhall, Bath
- Wednesday 18 October 2017, from 1-4pm at Twerton Village Hall, Bath