Briefing report attached
Councillor Quinn, Cabinet Member for Environment and Lorraine Chamberlin presented a report providing Members with an update on the work being carried out in relation the air quality across the borough.
It was explained that DEFRA had released their “UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations” which aim to reduce concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (N02) to achieve statutory targets in the whole of the UK within the shortest time possible. The Government set a clear view that action should be led at a local level.
DEFRA had identified a list of 29 local Councils that are predicted to have the greatest problems meeting air quality targets for N02 beyond the next 3 - 4 years. The list includes Bury with the area identified as having problems meeting the targets being Bury Bridge.
The identified Councils are required to produce an innovative local plan to meet nitrogen dioxide targets in the shortest time possible. This will mean identifying interventions which will persuade drivers of polluting vehicles to transfer to public transport; travel along alternative routes; or transfer to a less polluting vehicle. The initial version of the plan must be submitted for approval by March 2018 and a final version by December 2018.
A Clean Air Fund of £225m has been made available by the Government to enable Councils to carry out feasibility studies to consider options and implement the identified measures.
It was reported that TfGM take the lead on air pollution across Greater Manchester and will be leading on the production of the local plan. The final plan will be called the GM Clean Air Plan and will be produced in the form of a robust business case that will be developed in 3 stages:-
· Strategic Outline Case
· Outline Business Case
· Full Business Case
The Strategic Outline Case had been submitted to DEFRA on 7 March.
It was reported that alongside the development of the GM Clean Air Plan, the Council will also be consulting on Bury’s own Climate Change and Low Emissions Plan which will describe how the Council proposes to address climate change and improve air quality over the next 5 years. The actions within the document will complement and enhance the GM Clean Air Plan.
A Clean Air Day event was planned to be held on 21 June 2018 and will include a showcase for electric vehicles and electric bikes. This will be held in Bury Town Centre.
Those present were given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments and the following points were raised:-
· Councillor Harris asked where the Council were up to with the local plan.
It was explained that the local plan would be presented to Council soon and the GM plan was at the stage of choosing a preferred method for Bury.
Councillor Quinn explained that options were being considered for retrofitting buses with Euro 6 engines which would reduce the amount of emissions.
· Councillor Harris asked when the plan was due to be implemented.
It was reported that the deadline was 29 March 2019. There was lots of work being done currently including works to the Metrolink network and work in relation to the regulation of buses across GM.
Councillor Quinn explained that there had been a big increase in traffic across the borough since 2013. It was essential that good, affordable public transport was in place to encourage people to use it.
· Councillor Walker referred to the use of electric vehicles and stated that all new build properties should be fitted with an electric charging point and solar panels to promote this.
It was agreed:
1. That the contents of the report be noted.
2. That an update on the progress made be brought to a future meeting of the Committee.