Thursday, 20 August 2015

Brent addresses air quality in Transportation Strategy but needs to be key issue in GLA campaign

Target Summary - note walking target should be 10% increase in schools with Gold Standard Travel Plans

Brent, faced with a growing population, new schools and several major regeneration areas along with infrastructural projects such as Cross Rail and HS2, as well as ongoing problems of road congestion and poor air quality,  is clearly in need of a long Term Transportation Strategy.

Following feedback from organisations, individuals and Scrutiny Commitee the Plan going before Cabinet  on Monday has undergone substantial changes.

The full document can be found HERE

This is a summary of the Objectives from the plan:
Objective 1: Increase the uptake of sustainable modes, in particular active modes.
2.13.    Increasing the uptake of cycling and walking will actively contribute to a reduction in congestion and air pollution and improve the health of Brent residents. Use of public transport or car clubs instead of the private car also contributes to reduced congestion and is important in enabling access to services. Uptake of all these modes can be influenced by effective travel planning measures and infrastructure.

Objective 2: Reduce conventional vehicular trips on the network, particularly at peak time

2.14. This is not about reducing the total number of trips on the network as mobility is highly important for local economic growth and for those residents who struggle to travel by other means, and require motorised travel to facilitate independent travel. However, trips can be re-timed to avoid peak hours or take place in less polluting vehicles.
Objective 3: Support growth areas and town centres to enable acceptable development
2.15.    Brent is expected to see high levels of growth over the next 20 to 30 years, focussing on the growth areas.Adequate transport investment will be required to ensure this development takes place on a sustainable basis, is accessible for all users and does not place undue pressure on the transport networks.

Objective 4: Reduce KSI incidents and slight accidents on Brent’s roads
2.16.    Over the last 10 years roads in Brent have become safer, however there is still considerable amounts of work to do in further reducing accidents to create safe and accessible streets for all users.

Objective 5: Reduce the exposure of Brent residents to particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) generated by the transport network
2.17. It has become apparent that particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide generated by a variety of sources has a significant adverse impact on the health of those who are regularly exposed. A proportion of these pollutants are generated by transport. Reduction in exposure of Brent residents could result in significant health benefits. 
This blog has had several articles expressing concern about air quality in Brent, particularly on the North Circular Road, in Neasden and as a consequence of the Brent Cross development. A further consideration has been the number of Brent schools sited close to major roads.

Air quality monitoring statins in Kingsbury, Harlesden and IKEA on the North circular have been closed.

Clean Air in London  estimates that there are 7,500 premature deaths in London annually due to nitrogen dioxide and particulate pollution as wellas the 3,400 caused by toxic air. Barry Gardiner (Brent North) told the Evening Standard Standard in June LINK:
So far this year 1,337 people have already died as result of air pollution yet the mayor’s proposals will not bring this down to safe levels until 2030.

We need a new national framework of low and ultra-low emissions zones within which London must roll out the electrification of buses and the highest vehicle standards for all new fleet vehicles within four years. We need decisive action now to protect our children not vague promises for 15 years down the line.
Air quality should be a major issue in the upcoming London Mayoral and  London Assembly elections as the Green Party attempted in the 2012 campaign (see video below):

This is the detail of the proposed Brent  Long Term Transportation Strategy  (LTTS) Objectives on air quality:

7. Reduce the exposure of Brent residents to Particulate Matter (PM) and NO2 generated by the transport network 
.        5.36.  Air quality improvement measures have previously been focussed on the reduction of carbon and CO2 production. However, in recent years it has become apparent that particulate matter and NO2 pose the most significant risks to the health of those exposed to them on a regular basis.
.        5.37.  Evidence shows that fine and ultra fine particulate matter present in air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Conventional vehicles are responsible for 41% to 60% of air pollutants in the UK, which have an impact on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
.        5.38.  It has been shown that NO2 acts as an irritant, exacerbating respiratory conditions and contributing to premature deaths, particularly in vulnerable members of the population such as those with asthma. NO2 is generated as part of the combustion process that takes place in conventional cars.
.        5.39.  Particulate matter can enter the body through the lining of the lungs and creates inflammation. In particular, particulate matter has been shown to contribute to conditions that have an inflammatory element, such as heart attack and stroke. It is uncertain precisely how many deaths are brought forward by the presence of particulate matter, however, it is estimated to be a significant number.
.        5.40.  Though not all particulate matter is generated by transport, diesel engines do produce significant amounts as does friction on the road surface and other moving parts. 
.        5.41.  Reducing the exposure of Brent residents to both of these substances will directly contribute to improved health and longer life. Though it is not achievable through this strategy to reduce exposure from the transport network to 0 due to the nature of transport and the built environment, there are some measures that are achievable that will both reduce overall levels of air pollution and lessen the exposure of individuals.

Reducing exposure

5.42.    There are two main ways in which the exposure of Brent residents to this type of pollution can be controlled and reduced. These are reduction in the overall production of the pollutants and avoidance of the pollutants that are still produced.


5.43.    All the objectives of this LTTS will contribute to improved air quality through reduced vehicle trips on the network. In particular increased use of sustainable modes and reduced peak-time freight movements combined with greater use of LEVs and ULEVs will contribute to improved air quality. However, there are some specific measures that relate more closely to air quality.
.        5.44.  The Transport Emissions Road Map (TERM) produced by Transport for London in 2014 identifies a number of measures that may be implemented in the boroughs to reduce the production of pollutants. Among these is the introduction of Low Emission Neighbourhoods which identify particular areas as zones in which heavily polluting vehicles are limited or controlled.
.        5.45.  Though the introduction of these would be supported by the LTTS it should be noted that the terms on which they are implemented should be considered carefully to avoid inequitable impacts on residents.
.        5.46.  It must also be considered that the current Transport for London bus fleet runs on diesel, which produces high levels of particulates. There are no current plans for this fleet to be changed for one running on alternative fuels, so this restriction must be considered when introducing restrictions.
.        5.47.  However, due to the large number of bus routes running through Brent and in particular certain strategic corridors Brent will continue to lobby TfL for changes to the local bus fleet to reduce dependency on diesel.
.        5.48.  The TERM also identifies the possible introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone covering greater London which would operate on similar terms to the current Low Emission Zone but would enforce tighter emission standards on vehicles entering greater London.
.        5.49.  Though it is uncertain as yet how this will come forward on a London wide basis, the LTTS would support the introduction of a borough-wide low emission zone. This would give Brent Borough Council control over implementation and therefore the ability to mitigate any potential negative impacts on local residents. Further research would be required to take this forward should the opportunity to gain funding arise.


.        5.50.  It has been shown that for particulate matter distance from the source of pollution makes a significant difference to the level of exposure suffered. Therefore, increasing the distance and introducing barriers could help to reduce the exposure of residents to this type of pollution.
.        5.51.  In some areas this may not be achievable due to the constrained nature of the network. However in new schemes and in particular schemes that incorporate a strong element of place making, enabling a greater distance between the road surface and shop fronts and footways would be of benefit to the health of local workers and visitors.
.        5.52.  In some areas is may also be possible to introduce barriers such as plating, that constrains the particulate matter and reduces the amount that reaches the footway and frontages.

1 comment:

Alison Hopkins said...

It's a pity that Brent seem to have given up fighting the incinerator and dump on our borders, then, isn't it.