Southend-on-Sea Borough council has published its proposals to reduce air pollution in the Borough over the next three years.
The council’s air quality specialist has drafted the three-year action plan which will be considered by the council’s cabinet on 19 June. If councillors vote in favour of the plan which has already been approved by Defra, it will then be officially adopted by the council.
The production of an Air Quality Action Plan is in response to high levels of nitrogen dioxide being recorded along the A127 between the Bell and Cuckoo corner junctions in November 2016.
This led to an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) being declared along this section of the A127 and the appointment of an Air Quality Specialist to devise a plan to bring air quality levels within acceptable limits.
Air-quality data recorded by the founcil shows that the majority of air pollution within the Air Quality Management Area is caused by vehicles, especially queuing vehicles, so focussing on transport would have the most immediate and beneficial impact.
Key actions detailed within the plan include using smart technology to monitor both traffic and environmental data, such as air-quality readings, simultaneously in real time.
Monitoring the impact of junction improvements at Kent Elms and The Bell will also take place, while the council intends to use planning policy to facilitate and encourage sustainable forms of transport, such as walking, cycling, electric vehicles, trains and improved passenger transport.
The plan commits the council to bid for further funding for enhancements to the highways network as well as better operation of Traffic Control information.
Other commitments in the plan include promoting workplace, school and personalised Travel Plans, encouraging the development of car clubs in the borough and educating local people about the causes of air pollution and actions that can be taken to reduce it.
Cllr Mark Flewitt, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “Everyone has the right to breathe clean air and public interest in air quality has been at an all-time high.
“The most immediate air-quality challenge is tackling the problem of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) around our roads – the only statutory air-quality obligation the UK is currently failing to meet.
“Southend-on-Sea Borough Council provides a high-quality environment for residents, visitors and businesses and generally enjoys good air quality. There are, however, traffic hotspots giving rise to unacceptable levels of air quality and this has become a serious public health concern for many cities and large towns throughout the UK.
“An improvement to air quality requires an integrated and collaborative approach. The plan has been structured to incorporate both borough-wide actions and more specific actions aimed at local traffic hot spots.”
Southend-on-Sea borough council Air Quality Action Plan