Cheshire East council is to discuss an actions to address air pollution across its 17 air quality management areas, alongside a wider air quality strategy, at a meeting today (17 September).
The local authority, which was last year forced to withdraw air quality data, has described the discussions as a ‘positive step forward for the council to tackle air quality’ within the borough.
Whilst at an early stage, proposals include aligning planning policies to ensure that air quality is considered as a ‘material planning consideration’ in regard to new developments as well as measures to tackle engine idling among drivers.
The council has also pledged to work with freight operators ‘to establish appropriate freight routes, delivery routines and driver practices to minimise congestion and pollution’.
Sean Hannaby, Cheshire East council director of planning and environment, said: “This is a positive step forward for the council to tackle air quality management within the borough and develop a set of strategic policies and actions to focus on those areas where intervention is required.
“While Cheshire East generally has air good air quality, we can always take action to improve it and these papers set out how we will do this over the next five years.
“Whilst some measures will help to improve the whole of the borough, 17 areas will see additional actions, as they have been identified as air quality management areas (AQMA).
“AQMAs are areas where the levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed the air quality objectives under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. On assessment, the main contributor to poor air quality in Cheshire East is traffic, with diesel vans and cars a main pollutant.
“Where air quality is poor, it affects everyone. It can have long term impacts on health, with a disproportionate impact on the young and old people. Action to improve air quality and reduce emissions in Cheshire East is welcomed.”
Documents to be discussed also include an air quality action plan for the 17 AQMAs and a low-emission strategy.