Canterbury to create AQMA ‘buffer’

Canterbury city council has outlined a comprehensive plan aimed at tackling air pollution in the city, which includes anti-idling enforcement and working with bus operators to introduce low emission vehicles on key routes.

The Kent council launched a draft version of its Air Quality Action Plan yesterday (10 April) – which includes the expansion of an existing Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) due to continued breaches of the 40 µg/m3 nitrogen dioxide limit, around Rheims Way a major route into the centre of the city.

Canterbury city council says it is taking an ‘ultra cautious’ approach to addressing air quality, by including some roads that do not breach the 40 µgm/m3 NO2 limit within its AQMA

The extension includes expansion into areas where NO2 levels touch an average of 36 µgm/m3 to ensure a ‘10% buffer’ against any potential breaches of the legal limit, the council says.

A new AQMA will also be created in Herne at the mini roundabout junction of the A291 and School Lane.

The authority, which has worked alongside the consultancy firm Bureau Veritas on the proposals, says that the measure is part of an ‘ultra-cautious’ approach it is taking to combat air pollution.

Canterbury’s plan, which will be presented to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee next week (18 April) also outlines further steps that will be taken borough-wide, which include a raft of proposals to address air pollution from the council’s own fleet of vehicles, as well as buses, taxis and freight operators in the city.

Anti-idling

Among these, the city council is planning to adopt district-wide anti-idling enforcement powers which would be enforced at coach parks, on-street parking bays, taxi ranks and at level crossings, coupled with a pilot scheme at a number of schools to raise awareness of the issue of idling.

The council will also explore the use of its fee structure to encourage taxi drivers and to use low-emission vehicles as well as develop a ‘strong partnership’ with bus companies to establish a ‘framework for improving the bus network and fleet’.

Council officers will also seek to work with freight companies to encourage them to use the right routes around the city and promote better driving which is shown to reduce emissions, the council says.

Additionally the council plans to work with the University of Kent on an air quality monitoring project and one on anti-idling signs.

And, outside of transport, the council will look to create a marketing campaign encouraging owners of wood-burning stoves to use them correctly

‘Statement of intent’

Commenting on the plan, leader of Canterbury city council Cllr Simon Cook, said: “We take the need to improve air quality in some areas of the district extremely seriously and our draft Air Quality Action Plan is a statement of our intent to achieve this.

“While we will do all we can as an organisation to improve air quality, the district needs to come together to make a positive impact.

“Individuals can make a massive difference with the choices they make alongside Kent county council which has responsibility for transport and as the highways authority, other public sector bodies, businesses, the higher and further education sector, schools, public transport providers and the NHS. This list is not an exhaustive one.

“We want to hear people’s ideas and possible solutions to the air quality problem. The more people we can get involved, the more effective our final plan will be.”

Related Links
Canterbury city council draft AQAP 2018-2023