For the Committee to receive a presentation on Clean Air.
A short adjournment took place between 11:55am and 12 noon)
Members were given a presentation on Air Quality by the Executive Manager Environment and they were also circulated with Air Quality Annual Status Reports for 2016 for both Grantham and Stamford.
The Executive Manager Environment gave a brief overview for Members putting air quality in perspective. A draft Air Quality Plan had been published in May 2017 which contained actions designed to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles and accelerate the move to cleaner transport. South Kesteven was not required to implement an air quality charging scheme it was more for large cities such as London the final plan was due to be published in July 2017. The Executive Manager Environment introduced Pete Rogers who was a Principal Environmental Health Officer who dealt with air quality. The draft National Plan contained proposals around diesel cars, taxation and retrofitting transport fleets. It was unlikely that there would be a significant impact for our particular area but until the document was published we didn’t know what the impact, if any would be.
Mr Rogers then referred to the plans that showed monitoring locations in Grantham and Stamford and he also circulated a diffusion tube which was used to collect nitrogen oxide data from car exhausts, diesel cars, buses etc. information was collected monthly and a report was compiled annually.
Sites in Grantham and Stamford were actively monitored 37 total sites across the district. The monitoring locations on the plans circulated showed a reduction over the years of nitrogen oxide levels at the diffusion tube locations. Locations included base locations which were located away from town centres.
An ongoing problem was located at Brook Street in Grantham which was a narrow street containing three sets of traffic lights in a short space of road, a school, a petrol station and shop. There was heavy traffic including a large amount of buses dropping off and collecting school children at certain times of the day. The Air Quality Management Area in Grantham ran from Wharf Road along the High Street and included Brook Street. The Council had a statutory responsibility for the Air Quality Action zone and Plan which was approved in 2016 for Grantham. The Highways Authority were the main body which could implement the Air Quality Action Plan Measures although one of the biggest solutions would be the delivery of the southern relief road which would take heavy duty traffic out of Grantham town centre. Improvement of traffic management systems also helped to reduce congestion along the Manthorpe Road corridor leading into Brook Street making the traffic more fluid.
A Member asked what happened if the nitrogen oxide level exceeded 40 to which Mr Roger replied if they exceed 40 an air quality monitoring area would be declared and actions taken to reduce the levels. South Kesteven District Council’s Air quality action plan can be found on our website at http://www.southkesteven.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=8323
A discussion then followed on when levels were monitored and whether they could be done as specific times only. To monitor levels at specific times and in specific areas was labour intensive and required a power supply.
It was in 1996 that a statutory duty was placed on authorities throughout the Country to carry out a technical assessment on air quality. The Air Quality Management Area was put in place in Grantham as the averages were too high.
One Member suggested that a good location for monitoring would be the junction at Belton Lane/Hill Avenue in Grantham near to the public park as traffic backed up there regularly. Another Member asked about the dispersal of gas and this fell quickly the further you were away from the road.
The Chairman suggested three further locations in Stamford due to the new traffic lights and the build-up of traffic. The locations were St Mary’s Street, St Mary’s Hill and St Martin’s near to the George Hotel.
The Executive Manager briefly discussed the Air Quality Action Plan Measures and highlighted the cycling infrastructure to promote cleaner air quality, LCC currently had no plans to improve bus fleet emissions standards although non contracted services would be approached. Priory Ruskin had a travel plan in place and anti-idling campaigns had been undertaken which had attracted media interest. The next phase would be targeted at taxis and educating them about measures to help with air quality.
The Chairman thanked the Officers for attending and the information given and it was;
Resolved: That an update on the Air Quality figures would be given in approximately six months’ time.