Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Draft Air Quality Action Plan launched

Draft Air Quality Action Plan launched
(Press Release, Lancaster City Council): Lancaster City Council has taken another step towards cleaning up air quality in Lancaster.

On Tuesday the council’s cabinet approved an interim Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).
The plan identifies 19 actions which could help towards reducing the amount of nitrogen dioxide, caused mainly by traffic fumes, in the city centre.

These short-term actions will be developed by Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council over the next 15 months.

They will allow longer-term actions for reducing exhaust emissions and encouraging alternative transport measures to be found.

However, no actions have been identified which could solve the air quality problem in central Lancaster in one fell swoop.

But it is expected that an in-depth transport study by the Lancaster and Morecambe Vision Board will identify the medium and long-term potential solutions that would ultimately help to improve air quality in the city centre.

The Board is expected to report the findings of the study later this year.
Coun David Kerr, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, said: “Lancaster City Council is committed to improving the poor air quality currently suffered by a small number of its residents in central Lancaster.

“The approval of the draft Air Quality Action Plan is a good start towards developing solutions whilst we await the findings of the Vision Board’s transport study.”

The approval of the Air Quality Action Plan follows the formal declaration of an Air Quality Management Area in 2004. The AQMA contains approximately 200 to 250 households within the one way system, some of which are located one footpath width from heavily trafficked road sections.

Due to the complex nature of Lancaster’s road traffic congestion and air quality issues progress on the issue has been difficult.

But the formal adoption of the interim draft AQAP offers the prospect of a concrete solution being found.

The city council is also currently consulting residents, businesses and organisations in Carnforth following the declaration of an AQMA in the town earlier this year.

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