Cambridge city council has outlined a raft of proposals to tackle air quality in the city, aimed at reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 5.2%.
The plan, which will be considered by councillors at a meeting today (13 March) sets out three key priority areas in addressing air pollution.
These include reducing local traffic emissions in order to comply with national air quality objectives, maintaining levels of pollution below these objectives and improve public health by educating the public about the causes and effects of air pollution.
According to the city council, air quality has been improving, slowly, in most parts of Cambridge in recent years, but there are parts of the city, including the busy central streets, where levels of nitrogen dioxide continue to be higher than the legal limits.
It adds that “levels of air quality in Cambridge have been improving slowly overall, there is a real possibility that this will not continue and may even deteriorate unless measures are put in place to deliver further air quality improvements.”
The council claims that the main source of nitrogen dioxide in Cambridge is from vehicle emissions, with the primary focus of the plan on reducing these emissions, as well as reducing other sources of air pollution.
Measures recommended for approval include continuing work to assess the introduction of a clean air zone – with evaluation of the measure currently being undertaken.
Elsewhere the plan also recommends lowering emissions from taxis by increasing the number of electric and petrol hybrid taxis through incentives and installation of more electrical vehicle charging points.
Other proposed policies include reducing bus and coach emissions by working with partners to invest in more environmentally-friendly vehicles. And, the council will also look to reduce HGV emissions in the city centre by promoting ‘greener’ methods for making deliveries of goods, such as by cycle.
Measures to toughen planning requirements will also be assessed, as well as ongoing work to increase the number of low emission vehicles in the council’s fleet.
Commenting on the proposals, Councillor Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environment and City Centre, said: “Exposure to air pollution can cause serious health problems, especially for some of our most vulnerable people.
“While levels of air quality in Cambridge have slowly improved overall in recent years according to official data, we need to do all we can to ensure this situation does not deteriorate as our population grows in the coming years, and demands for transport increase.
“This Air Quality Action Plan will give us the framework we need to do all we can to reduce harmful emissions, and ensure Cambridge continues to be a great place to live, work and study in.”
If approved at Environment Scrutiny Committee today, the Air Quality Action Plan 2018-23 will undergo a period of consultation before being adopted by the council.
Cambridge city council – Draft Air Quality Action Plan