AQAP – Air Quality Action Plan. When pollution is higher than the EU threshold, human health and well-being are negatively affected, and councils are required to create and implement an AQAP. The Vale’s draft plan (which is currently out for consultation) came to Scrutiny on the 24th of July.
There are three areas in the Vale that have in the past, or do now have, NO2 pollution above the threshold: Abingdon, Botley and Marcham. Only Botley is currently showing levels that are too high.
The draft AQAP has only one suggestion for Botley: consider higher walls to protect people from the pollution from the A34.
There was no mention of other ideas such as planting trees to absorb the pollution, banning LDVs or HGVs in Westminster Way, slowing down traffic on A34 (although I’m told by people who should know that the 50mph limit is for noise abatement, not air quality). Please have a read of the report — it’s interesting. One thing I learned is that buses aren’t a problem in Botley but they are in Abingdon. (I don’t know how they can tell that, and the report doesn’t say.)
If you have some additional ideas about how to improve the air quality along both sides of the A34 (that’s where the pollution is over the limits) then please, PLEASE log your comments on the consultation. You can get to the consultation via my previous blog post. In the draft report you can see a map of the problem areas.
Or let me know and I will take your ideas forward.
Amusingly, I was lectured a bit at the meeting by Cllr Eric Batts (who has to either miss his North Hinksey Parish Council meeting or the Scrutiny meeting, as they are scheduled for the same 4th Thursday night). He told committee that he has been involved in trying to improve air quality for years, and that it’s really, really difficult, and he doesn’t see what more they can do.
Well, here’s what I say to that. #Fail! Air pollution levels along the A34 are unacceptable. There there are health effects for residents. The Tories have taken NO action to protect Botley residents. None. Does the EU have to cite the Vale for violations before they will do something?
Intractable air quailty problems mean the Vale Cabinet member for Environmental Health has to work collaboratively with other orgnisations that are more directly responsible for traffic, roads, lorries and vans — all the contributors to our air pollution problems. Low hanging fruit was plucked years ago, and now we require councillors of imagination, intelligence and determination. The Vale has a legal and moral responsibility to do their best for us.