Air we go
Reducing congestion, more journeys by bike and lower emission vehicles are the way forward to improve air quality according to a county council task group report.
According to Public Health England, poor air quality is among the largest environmental risks to public health in the UK. Although Gloucestershire scores well for air quality generally, there are some pockets where the levels of Nitrogen Dioxides (NO2), which is caused by vehicle emissions, are too high.
To tackle these issues the county council’s Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee set up a task group to solely look at how it can work with partners to improve air quality in the county.
After six months of research, the task group is now ready to present its findings to a committee for approval. Chaired by Cllr Jeremy Hilton, today (9th) the task group will highlight a number of recommendations, including changes to planning policies, reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality monitoring.
Encouraging greater use of electric vehicles and increasing journeys by bicycle, on foot and by public transport are also priorities for the group.
The report recommends setting up a Gloucestershire Air Quality Partnership to oversee future work. This follows on from a well attended workshop at Shire Hall in January which saw partners come together to discuss the challenges facing the county.
Cllr Jeremy Hilton said: “This report is just the start. We need to do more to reduce vehicle air pollution in Gloucestershire. There are a number of poor air quality hot spots in the county and we have to take action to reduce these pollutants.
“I would like to thank everyone who came along to the workshop we held in January and to the members of the air pollution task group that helped draft the report.”
Cllr Robert Bird, chairman of the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee, said: “This has been a priority for the committee for some time now and I’m grateful to the task group for this in depth report.
“We know there is more we can do to improve air quality in the county, but it needs everyone to be working together to achieve that for the health and wellbeing of all our residents.”
The report will now be presented to cabinet on Wednesday 6th June.