Air quality action plan 2013

A report for Thanet District Council

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Executive summary

The Environment Act 1995 requires all Local authorities to review air quality within their districts. If it appears that any air quality "Objective" prescribed in the regulations and in the National Air Quality Strategy is not likely to be achieved then the local authority must designate the affected areas as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

The Act then requires that an Action Plan be produced for any areas designated as AQMAs, setting out the actions that the District Council intend to take to achieve the National Air Quality Strategy.

Air quality across Thanet is excellent and pollution levels are well below health objectives set by government. However two small areas exceed the recommended annual objective level for nitrogen dioxide (NO2): High Street, St Lawrence and The Square Birchington both are heavily trafficked junctions and on main routes coming in to Thanet. Both areas were declared AQMAs but following further consideration these were revoked and a much larger Urban Air Quality Management area was declared on 17th November 2011.

This encompasses the two technical exceedence areas as well as a wider geographical area to enable the Action Plan to consider a broader approach to strategic planning, transport planning, sustainability and climate change measures. The Council will continue to work with the local highway authority, Kent County Council to help secure improvements to the network and has consulted widely with local organisations and the public in developing measures for inclusion in this Action Plan.

The Action Plan confirms the likely source of nitrogen dioxide is from transport and in particular from heavy goods vehicles, buses and congested traffic. Evidence suggests that a 21% reduction in traffic emissions of oxides of nitrogen (or NOx which is a precursor to NO2) is necessary (based on 2009 figures) to achieve the air quality standard. The Action Plan recommends 10 measures for implementation which are aimed at reducing levels of air pollution within the AQMA in Birchington and St Lawrence. It also sets out the framework of partnership working with other organisations, within which the actions have been developed