Local authority news round-up February 2018

North Lincs to scale down AQMAs

North Lincolnshire council is set to reduce the size and number of its air quality management areas as data shows air quality has improved in the district.

The council currently has two air quality management areas: one in Scunthorpe and one in Low Santon. Declared in 2005 and 2008 respectively, the council has worked to reduce the levels of PM10 recorded in each of the AQMAs.

According to the council, extensive monitoring of the air quality in Low Santon has shown that the level of PM10 no longer exceeds the annual mean air quality objective.

The council now plans to reduce the size of the air quality management area in Scunthorpe and completely remove the air quality management area in Low Santon.

Deputy Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Cllr Richard Hannigan, said: “By reducing the size of our Scunthorpe air quality management area and declassifying the one in Low Santon, we can refocus our efforts and create a new action plan to further cut PM10 levels where it is needed most.

“This cleaning up of the air in North Lincolnshire goes to show that the hard work of the council and our partners has paid off. We recognise that there is still work to do to reduce air pollution but already we are pleased that residents are breathing safer, cleaner air.”

Bath to increase parking costs to aid air quality

Bath & North East Somerset council has set out proposals aimed at improving air quality and reducing congestion by encouraging commuters and visitors to use the city’s Park & Rides or other public transport.

The measure will be backed by an increase in the cost of long-stay parking in any of the council’s car parks which will see a new flat hourly rate of £1.60 will be introduced across all the Council’s off-street car parks in Bath.

All residents of Bath & North East Somerset will be eligible for a discount of 10% on both on-street and off-street parking charges in Bath, meaning the cost of short-stay parking for residents will either be reduced or broadly remain the same.

The proposed new charging structure was approved by the council’s Cabinet last week (7 February). There will be a further period of public consultation before the new charges are introduced, anticipated to be later this year.

Commenting on the plans, Councillor Mark Shelford, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “This is the start of a progressive journey to improve air quality within Bath and North East Somerset’s densely populated areas. The aim of the new charging structure is to encourage commuters and visitors to use the Park & Ride or public transport rather than driving into the city centre to park.

“At the same time, in order to support our local economy, we are planning to introduce a residents’ discount for that will mean the cost of parking for three hours or less remains the same or even reduced. This is about demonstrating our commitment to putting residents first, as well as supporting local business and tackling congestion and air pollution.”

LBHF trials road closure at schools

A trial scheme to improve road safety and reduce pollution around school gates was launched last month by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

The council’s first ‘healthy school streets’ scheme kicked off in Banim Street, Hammersmith, on 29 January and will last for two months.

The road will be closed to motor traffic on weekdays during the daily ‘school rush’ for the West London Free School.

Cllr Wesley Harcourt, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Residents’ Services, said: “The school rush hour mixes high levels of vulnerable road users with high volumes of traffic and pollution, so we hope this trial will show how reducing traffic at peak times will make our roads safer and healthier for residents’ children.”

The scheme will be in effect on weekdays from 7.30am-8.30am and from 3pm-4.30pm, using CCTV enforcement.

Banim Street residents with a valid parking permit won’t be affected by the restriction and are free to drive into the street and park as usual. Blue badge holders can apply for an exemption for one vehicle. Vehicles already parked in the street when scheme comes into effect will still be able to leave.

If the trial proves successful, other locations will be considered for expanding the scheme, the council has said.