Work is set to begin on an action plan to improve air quality across the Harrogate district following the declaration of two new Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA).
Local authorities are required to monitor air quality in their areas and to declare an AQMA where objectives set out in the National Air Quality Strategy are not being met. Results for York Place and Woodlands Junction have shown that these areas have exceeded national targets for traffic related nitrogen dioxide.
Following the declaration of an AQMA, the council has a duty to produce an Air Quality Plan for approval by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The purpose of the action plan is to identify appropriate measures to reduce the level of nitrogen dioxide and to improve local air quality.
Earlier this year, the council held a public consultation asking people for their views on the size of the area the AQMAs would cover and suggestions for improving local air quality that could be included in the action plan.
Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport said:
Teams from Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council will work together to produce the action plan to improve air quality across the district.
I would like to thank everyone who took part in our recent public consultation and all responses received will be considered and investigated further. Suggestions have included looking at how we can reduce vehicle idling, promoting good driving techniques and the use of car share, encouraging the use of public and sustainable transport, and the opportunity to secure grant funding to help improve efficiency of local bus fleets.
A draft action plan will be produced within 12 months and the council will then ask residents and businesses for their views before a final plan is published.
In November 2010, AQMAs at Bond End in Knaresborough and High and Low Skellgate in Ripon were declared and an Air Quality Action Plan for these areas was adopted in 2013. The new Air Quality Action Plan will contain actions to help to improve local air quality in all four areas.
More information about the local air quality and the Air Quality Management Areas is available on the council’s website at www.harrogate.gov.uk/air