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        30 July, 2019

        Air Quality improvement as local readings fall within guideline levels

        The most recent Air Quality Annual Status Report, 2019* reveals that in the preceding year, air quality in Thanet remained within guideline levels.  

        The monitoring and assessment of air quality in an area is something that every local authority in England is required to do. Thanet District Council has been monitoring the level of pollution in the area since 1993 and currently does so at 32 different locations all over the district.  Thanet is part of the Kent and Medway Air Quality Monitoring Network and data are available to view at www.Kentair.org.uk. The latest annual report shows that Thanet is one of three local authorities across Kent that achieved guideline levels. 

        The main cause of local pollution is traffic and when this is combined with background pollution from other districts/areas it can have an impact on health, especially for anyone with an existing respiratory condition such as asthma. Improving air quality is a continuous process and is constantly being addressed. 

        One of the ways that Thanet District Council has been working to improve air quality is through projects which increase Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure . This includes working with Kent County Council  on the installation of charging points at public car parks. Additionally, at least two dedicated taxi and private hire charging points are due for installation in 2020 to support drivers using electric vehicles.  They are the result of electric vehicle infrastructure funding from Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) . There are also requirements on any new developments to incorporate EV charging infrastructure in readiness of the government’s ban on petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040. We have also been working to support Kent County Council’s Kent Energy and Low Emissions Strategy which is currently out for consultation.

        Councillor Lesley Game, Cabinet member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods said:  “This is fantastic news for residents. The fact that we are seeing an improvement in the air quality across Thanet is a real positive for the health of the local population. We will continue to work with partners to consistently monitor air quality and to encourage more sustainable travel. I would also urge people to get involved in the low emissions consultation that is currently taking place.”

        The Kent Energy and Low Emissions strategy, evidence base and consultation questionnaire can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/energyandlowemissionsconsultation.   If you would like to have your say, it is currently out for consultation until 23rd September.  

        Although air quality is within guideline levels,  local episodes of pollution can still occur. To sign up for an air quality alert which features  a 5-day forecast issued by the Met Office on behalf of Defra please visit: http://kentair.org.uk/home/ForcastEmail An email is issued whenever an air quality episode (moderate or above) is forecast for the next day.  

        *Link to Annual Status Report 2019: https://www.thanet.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Thanet-ASR-2019-final.pdf

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