Air Quality Action Plans and Why We Need Them

Air Quality in Rayleigh has been poor for some time. In fact since 2004 Rayleigh has exceeded EU air quality limits. Rochford District Council has been monitoring Rayleigh for air pollution and as figure C1 from the 2016 Air Quality Annual Status Report shows the levels have fallen over time. However is should be noted that the 2015 data is far from conclusive in my own opinion as "A lack of resources prevented deployment of diffusion tubes during the second half of 2015." - doesn't inspire confidence when you are dealing with people's health!

Our council clearly needs to take action on this matter as there has been a constant failure to tackle this problem. In a recent court case against the government Client Earth has won its High Court case against the Government over its failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK.

This week we have met with RDC's officer responsible for Air Monitoring and offered our help. We are keen to extend the air quality monitoring to areas outside of the AQMA and have been looking at locations where there could be problems with congestion and the proximity to homes.​

up to 50,000 people a year die early from air pollution-related illnesses in the UK

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

The big question is, although areas can be monitored and identified as to whether they exceed these limits, what can be done to reduce the pollution?

The council has been working on this and has taken on external consultants to make recommendations

​These are the 'broad' plans

 Monitoring

 Traffic Management

 Sustainable Travel

 Planning Policy and Development Control

 Low Emission Vehicles

 Raising Awareness

Help Required?

In the next month or so, the council will release the latest Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) for public consultation and it will be interesting to see how the public reacts. Although residents will acknowledge the fact that they don't want their health to suffer I wonder if proposals to the town centre traffic system, new homes, alternative travel and changing their cars will be a trade off they are willing to make?

Do you want to know more about Air Pollution and the harmful effects? Here's a short video from Clean Air London to explain more...

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About the author 

James Newport

Essex County Councillor for Rayleigh North, Rochford District Councillor for Downhall & Rawreth and Rayleigh Town Councillor for Sweyne.

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