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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 10/07/2007
Proposed Declaration of Three Air Quality Management Areas



ANNEXE 1
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 5TH APRIL 2005



Title:

PROPOSED DECLARATION OF THREE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT AREAS

[Wards Affected: Godalming Central and
Ockford, Farnham Moor Park, Hindhead]


Summary and purpose:

Waverley is required, under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, to carry out reviews and assessments of air quality within the Borough.

The purpose of this legal requriementrequirement is to determine whether or not any part of the Borough is experiencing elevated levels of certain key air pollutants. Should exceedences be found or predicted the Council must declare an Air Quality Management Area (“AQMA”) and then within 12 months of the declaration produce draw up an Action Plan of measures to reduce levels of the exceeded pollutants. The purpose of this report is to present the results of the current air quality assessment to the committee and to determine the most appropriate course of action in line with legislation.



Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive

The aim of the National Government’s national air quality objectives is to improve local air quality and thus improve the quality of life and well-being of those people living in affected areas.

Whilst there may be some concerns from residents and businesses about the implications that declaration of an AQMA is likely to have on their lifestyle or property, to date, there have only been positive messages to authorities that have declared such areas. This is because the process of assessment, identification of affected areas and the drawing up of Action Plans demonstrates a commitment to work towards achieving national air quality objectives.


E-Government implications:

Comprehensive information about air quality, including previous reviews and assessments, and current air quality levels are currently available on the Waverley website. The public was recently able to respond to the Ddetailed Aassessment report on-line as part of a consultation exercise.

Resource and Legal implications:

Whilst Air Quality is functionally a specialism of the Environmental Health Section, oOfficers have and will continue be required to liaise and work together with Planning and Development colleagues and a number of statutory and other consultees.

Further monitoring may be required within the AQMA’s. Currently, the intention is to relocate some monitoring tubes from areas where the air quality is known to meet the Government targets to reduce the costs of that further monitoring. It may also be necessary to move the Council’s permanent monitoring station, from currently located at Hindhead to Godalming in order to fully assess the Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels. Under the Environment Act 1995, a timetable of reports and assessments has been laid down. It may be necessary to employ the services of a consultancy to continue to meet the timetable.

At present, it is estimated that it will be possible to undertake all of theses activities from within approved budgets.


Background


1. Section 82(1) of the Environment Act 1995 requires local authorities to undertake reviews of the current air quality ain their area, and the predicted air quality in future years, and to assess them against the standards and objectives prescribed in the Air Quality (England) Regulations 2000 and 2003. Assessments already undertaken in Waverley have determined that no further assessments were required for 6 of the 7 national objectives i.e.; benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, PM10 and sulphur dioxide.

2. However, in 2003 it was concluded that a detailed assessment of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) was necessary, as the Government’s targets for this parameter were predicted to be exceeded in parts of Waverley. This assessment was undertaken with assistance from a specialist consultancy, and was based on measured levels of Nitrogen Oxide within the area using diffusion tubes and then an appropriate modelling programme was used in order to predict the possibility of exceedences of NO2.

3. This detailed assessment revealed that NO2 levels in three parts of the Borough were higher than the permitted statutory levels. These areas are in small, but strategically important parts of Hindhead, Farnham and Godalming.
i. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of a group of gases called nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are formed from the oxygen and nitrogen in air during the combustion of fossil fuels. ii. Whilst the majority of nitrogen oxides emitted from a vehicle exhaust is in the form of nitric oxide (NO), which is not directly considered harmful to health, this gas can react with others present both in the exhaust and the atmosphere, to form nitrogen dioxide. iii. Nitrogen dioxide is harmful to health and is also an important component of ground level ozone formation. NO2 is a reddish-brown gas with a pungent and irritating odour. It reacts in the air with water vapour to form nitrous and nitric acid and then toxic organic nitrates. NO2 also contributes to the production of acid rain that can harm trees, fish and animal life. 4. Section 83(1) of The Environment Act 1995 requires;

i. “Where, as a result of an air quality review, it appears that any air quality standards or objectives are not being achieved, or are not likely within the relevant period to be achieved, within the area of a local authority, the local authority shall by order designate as an air quality management area any part of its area in which it appears that those standards or objectives are not being achieved, or are not likely to be achieved within the relevant period.”

5. The Detailed Assessment was submitted to DEFRA in October 2004 and it has accepted its findings. DEFRA expects AQMA’’s to be declared within four months of an authority identifying the requirement for declaration. Whilst the Council is now obliged to declare three Air Quality Management Areas, the precise delineation of them is not prescriptive and is for Waverley to determine.

6. In order to allow for adequate consultation to occur, Officers obtained agreement from DEFRA that the period for consultation, together with consideration by the Executive, would mean that determination would only occur following its meeting on 5th April 2005.

7. Currently, some 133 authorities in the UK have officially designated AQMAs, and a further tranche anticipate the need to do so. In Surrey, Reigate and Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, and Surrey Heath have so far declared AQMAs.

Delineation of the AQMAs

8. It is now predicted that in three specific areas of Waverley, close to main through-roads, the objective for N02 is unlikely to be met by the target date of 31st December 2005. The predicted levels in these three areas already take account of national initiatives regarding engine design and car usage and they are not expected to fall to below the objective levels as a result of these national policies alone.

9. The modelling programme enabled a number of scenarios to be produced, and it was possible to predict the likely contour relating to the maximum air quality objective level of 40 microgram's per cubic metre of air of N02 (40ug/m3).

10. The consultants were also able to provide models that demonstrated the exceedences, should a set of precautionary, and therefore larger, 36ug/m3 contours be used. Whilst the declaration of larger areas would avoid the need to respond to further lowering of national objective levels, allow traffic management and development control decisions to be considered more widely and enable whole
11. The 40ug/m3 contours would takeinto account in areas of East Street and Woolmead Road (Farnham) and the Jjunction of A3001 with Station Road (Godalming) and the junction of A3 and Headley Road along to the junction of the A3 and the A287 (Hindhead). These proposed AQMAs are set out in the maps attached as Annexe 1 to this report.

Effects of Air Quality Management Areas and other Relevant Policies

12. This matter will continue toshould be looked at alongside a number of other policy, and legal frameworks and requirements. Planning Policy Statement 23: “Planning and Pollution Control” has just been published and includes Air Quality as a material planning consideration in a similar way to the contaminated land regime. Waverley Officers already work alongside Surrey County Council Officers through the Blackwater Valley Air Quality Group and Surrey Air Quality Group. Waverley and other Councils’ Officers are currently trying to establish base line pollution levels in order to monitor the impact of the Surrey County Council Sustainability Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment.

13. Within 12 months of declaring AQMAs, authorities are obliged to draw up Air Quality Management Plans (AQMPs). Local authorities are not legally obliged to achieve the national air quality objectives. They are, however, required to work towards the objectives by setting out the measures they intend to take in pursuit of them. Examples, taken from other authorities, of what can be included in AQMPs are as follows:-

a. Collate health information and begin mapping this on to the GIS system. The relevant information will be compared to that of air quality hotspots and the AQMA and any links considered. (this could be done in conjunction with the HPA). b. Actively support the larger National and South East schemes that may improve air quality along the motorway/trunk-road network and promote a modal shift to other forms of transport. c. Support the County Council with its aim to achieve traffic reduction by improving the infrastructure needed to encourage sustainable travel and reduce unnecessary car use. d. Work with the County Council and local schools to provide encouragement and support to increasing the uptake of Safer routes to Schools Schemes e. Promote the uptake of LPG by offering a reduction of 25% in Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Vehicle licence fees upon the conversion to LPG fuel. f. Add the exact location of the AQMA to the ‘site constraints database’ used by the Planning and Major Projects Directorate to ensure that any developments in or close to the AQMA are identified for further consideration.

14. Far from ruling out new developments, AQMAs can help contribute to renaissance by encouraging developments that are likely to have a positive impact on air quality by supporting the objectives of any AQMP. Good developments, for example, can help limit car parking, support public transport, walking or cycling, and include commitments to energy-efficient buildings. Local authorities are advised to consider carefully the likely impact on air quality of any proposed development inside or near to an AQMA, working closely with pollution control colleagues. This will apply equally to applications for pollution and/or traffic generating sources, which are likely to increase emissions of pollutants inside or near to the AQMA, and applications for housing.

15. It may also be appropriate in some circumstances for the developer to fund mitigating measures elsewhere inside the AQMA to offset any increase in local pollutant emissions as a consequence of the proposed development, or to pay for the purchase and running of monitoring equipment. These measures could be introduced through planning obligations. Examples might include the funding of better public transport links or other transport.

Consultation responses

16. The statutory consultees included Surrey County Council, The Highways Agency, DEFRA, The Environment Agency, English Nature, and adjoining local authorities. The consultation process and period was set out in the Members Bulletin and was also open to the public via the Waverley Website.

17. At the time of writing, the public consultation has resulted in three responses each of which have commented in relation to future Action Plans but do not have any strong comments in relation to the declaration of the AQMAs themselves.

18. Surrey County Council has made no comment in relation to the Detailed Assessment or the extent of the AQMAs. However, it has committed to further assistance in preparing the future Action Plans and in relation to all relevant local transport developments.

19. Within the AQMA, local measures can be implemented and assistance can be sought from the Highways Agency. Close working with the Highways Agency is essential in dealing with the matter in Hindhead, due to the proposed A3 tunnel work.

Conclusions

20. Waverley is legally required to declare AQMAs in areas where it is unlikely that national air quality objectives are to be met. The detailed assessment carried out identifies three areas where the Objective for NO2 is not likely to be met. These areas are Hindhead (junction of A3 and A287), Farnham (The Borough) and Godalming (A3001 and Station Road). It is for the Council to determine the most appropriate delineation of these AQMA’s taking into account the responses from public consultation and the impact on future policy development.

21. Your Officers conclude that the declaration of areas following the 40ug/m3 contours, as set out in Annexe 1 are the most appropriate to declare. This fulfils our statutory obligations without drawing the extent of the AQMAs more widely than necessary.


Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive Committee: -

1. declares three AQMAs using the 40ug/m3 NO2 contours in Hindhead, Farnham, and Godalming, as set out in Annexe 1 to this report; 2. asks officers to prepare the necessary Air Quality Action Plans to reduce levels of NO2 in these three areas; and 3. officers report back to the Executive with the Action Plans, including input from Surrey County Council, within the relevant timescales.

________________________________________________________________________


CONTACT OFFICERS:

Name: Anna Shiner Telephone: 01483 523435

E-mail: happletonashiner@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Martin Shorten Telephone: 01483 523434

E-mail: mshorten@waverley.gov.uk


















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