To provide the Annual Air Quality Status Report (ASR 2022) and to propose that a review of Air Quality Management Area No.6 (AQMA) is considered to remove the pollution declaration of 1-hour NO2 mean exceedances, through an amendment to the AQMA order.
The Public Protection Manager presented the report on behalf of the Cabinet Member for People & Safer Communities. The report outlined information from 2021, which had demonstrated compliance with the air quality strategy objectives that were pertinent to South Kesteven’s air quality management area.
The air quality management area encompasses main roads and the Town Centre of Grantham. The main pollutant of concern had been identified as Nitrogen Dioxide, which was largely attributable to road transport emission.
Local air quality in South Kesteven was managed via an extensive tube monitoring network comprising of 58 passive Nitrogen Dioxide at tubes at 35 separate locations; some sites had triplicate or duplicate tubes.
One Member queried whether the Council had any input in the decreased number of emissions during the Covid-19 pandemic, or whether this was merely due to the reduction in traffic due to restrictions. Further clarification was sought around the main pollutant being emissions from cars.
It was confirmed that there had been a slight increase of emissions when people returned to work, when restrictions were lifted. The Council used education as part of the action plan to reduce the air quality issue, the action plan would be further reviewed to explore further measures to encourage changes in behaviour.
Further clarification was sought around how people could implement change in their behaviours.
The Public Protection Manager clarified that further information would need to be gathered in terms of behaviours of how people travel to work in order to identify the reasoning behind the 5 years drop in the hourly mean.
The Deputy Chief Executive highlighted that Council colleagues followed a hybrid working, as well as other organisations nationally. This identified a blended approach of commuting to work or working from home, the reduction in the number of journeys to work may have coincided with the drop in the hourly mean.
The Council were required to undertake an annual status report yearly. Bureau Veritas had gathered the information for 2021, however, the overall report was based on reduction over 5 years.
One Member raised concern that the report was merely focused on Nitrogen Dioxide. It was suggested that a more holistic approach be taken in regard to types of pollution such as ammonia, which had a detrimental impact on biodiversity and directly led to loss of species and habitat degradation. It was queried as to what the Council could do to further reduce harm of other particulates.
It was confirmed that the annual status report was a legal requirement of the Council to complete and was based around monitoring Nitrogen Dioxide. The monitoring of particulates would require particular testing equipment which would need to be purchased, however, further monitoring could be explored through the air quality action plan. Education campaigns in schools could also assist in the particulate monitoring and demonstrating behaviour changes. It was confirmed that the motoring of ammonia would be a planning matter during key consideration stage of an application.
Members welcomed the report.
One Member queried as to what the Council were doing to remove the pollution declaration by 1 hour means and the impact this may have regarding parameters.
Disappointment was expressed regarding electric cars no longer being exempt from road tax which would be a barrier in attempt to reduce emissions. It was noted that the people tend to upgrade to a bigger and higher emission car rather than a smaller car or electric car.
A further question was raised in relation to the level of resourcing hours the Council commit to monitoring the outputs as set out in the report.
The Public Protection Manager stated that once a month, one Officer would carry out the collection and deployment of new tubes around the District. The tubes were then sent off and the data would be sent back to the Council which correlated figures for the air quality report.
It was highlighted that the figures were only for Grantham, it was suggested that these be undertaken in all busy areas of the District.
In terms of advertising, a billboard was suggested to be put up in key areas of the District where pollution was high as a way of engaging and educating people on the matter.
The Public Protection Manager confirmed that other areas of the District were also monitored. The focus was due to the air quality management areas which was because there were exceedances in 2013. The promotion of pollution would be explored.
ACTION: For the Public Protection Manager to provide the Committee on specific areas within the District that were monitored.
That the Committee:
1. Note the content of the Annual Air Quality Status Report (ASR 2022).
2. Recommends to the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities, that public consultation be undertaken to consider reviewing the existing Air Quality Management Ares (Order No.6) (AQMA) to remove the pollution declaration of 1-hour NO2 mean exceedances through an amendment to the AQMA Order.