At the full council meeting on Feb 2014, I tabled this motion, (seconded by Cllr Catherine Webber of Marcham):
Council resolves to fulfil its legal responsibility to create Air Quality Action Plans for Botley and for Marcham.
We ran out of time at that meeting, so the motion was carried forward to the next one, on 14 May 14, where I had this to say:
Botley AQMA was created in 2008.
In 2009, the official report said nitrogen oxide levels needed to be reduced by 40%. The plan was to hope that improved emissions control in new vehicles would bring air pollution to acceptable levels by 2014.
In April 2012, the Air Quality Updating & Assessment report concluded an AQMA plan was required. (It was clear at that point that hope as a strategy wasn’t enough.)
In May 2012, I asked, ‘With planned growth comes increased cars, street deterioration and air pollution. Botley is an AQMA. How will the Vale manage the impact of more development on air quality?’ I had no reply.
In July 2013, I asked the Cabinet member for Environmental Health to report on the efficacy of the Action Plan and where the public could see it. There was no plan, but the Cabinet member said he had asked officers to create one for the Oct 2013 Cabinet briefing.
In Sep 2013, I was sent a DEFRA report that said the AQAP for Botley was in draft form and would shortly go for consultation.
In late October 2013, I again asked in full council meeting how the Vale would mitigate against the anticipated air pollution brought about by the major new shopping centre where Elms Parade and West Way now stand. The Cabinet member said he would reply in writing, but I never got anything.
Here it is February May 2014, and I don’t see an Action Plan – nothing on the Vale website, nothing in my inbox.
We’re legally required to create this Air Quality Action Plan. We also have a moral responsibility to the people who live and work in Botley. Please support the motion.
This motion passed, and the Cabinet member for Environmental Health has said he’s trying his best to get it done.
Since then, officers have published an AQAP for South Oxfordshire, and I hear one for the Vale is due soon. It covers all the bad air areas in the Vale, and will be open for consultation as soon as it’s published. Any day now, I’m sure. Really.