Saturday 3 December 2016

Brent Council steps up action on air quality

When Mayor Boris Johnson concealed London's air pollution crisis as much as he could so Sadiq Khan deserves praise for bringing the issue out into the open, with Green AM Caroline Russell providing much of the pressure. Last week's alerts to Londoners demonstrate the seriousness of the issue.

Brent Council's Cabinet is due to approve the Council's own Air Quality Action Plan for consultation. The Action Plan opens with a declaration:
Brent council acknowledges the impact of poor air quality on health and the need for action to reduce or eliminate air pollution where possible. In Brent it is estimated that 200 premature deaths occur each year which are directly attributable to air pollution as well as further unquantified premature deaths where air quality is a factor. We accept air quality in Brent is poor and recognise significant intervention is required to improve local air quality for all. We have made some progress but accept that further work is needed to meet this challenge. Our air quality action plan demonstrates we are taking this issue seriously and will endeavour to tackle air pollution at source or reduce exposure where this is not possible. 

We will demonstrate our leadership by exploring options for low emission neighbourhoods, promotion of low emission vehicles and fuels where possible, reduce pollutant emissions from our buildings and vehicles and develop meaningful partnerships with others to get the most out of our air quality action measures.
We recognise air pollution as a shared problem and everyone must play their part to commit to continue to work with our communities to achieve air quality improvement. As we understand more about air pollution and the impact on health, we want to empower our residents to make informed choices about their options for travel and participate in decisions about air quality in the areas they live and work in. We must commit to safeguarding those at highest risk to provide additional information and limit or prohibit the development of areas where air quality is likely to be made worse. 

Not all air quality improvements can be delivered directly by our actions and so we will develop partnerships with other Local Authorities, the London Mayor, and other agencies where appropriate to maximise resources where we can and realise wider air quality benefits from our actions. 

We will commit to keeping this air quality action plan under review and will continue to identify new opportunities for air quality action in response to changes in legislation or local air quality as the need arises.
Our ultimate aim is to secure clean air for all especially for those at greatest risk or in the worst affected areas in the borough. We accept that this is likely to be a challenge to fulfil, but commit to investing in air quality action for improvement now and in the future. .
Brent's current Air Quality Management Area
The Action Plan acknowledges the impact of poor air quality on different sections of Brent's population:
...some areas of the Borough are more likely to be affected by poor air quality than others as the wider problems of poverty; deprivation and general poor health make people more vulnerable to the effects of pollution. This contributes to an almost 9-year difference in life expectancy between the most affluent and least affluent wards in the Borough. The council is committed to reducing this gap.
Four Air Quality Action Areas are proposed:

  1. The revised action plan includes the creation of four Air Quality Action Areas (AQAA) or hotspots, as Neasden town centre, Church End, the Kilburn Regeneration Area, and Wembley and Tokyngton. These areas were selected based on traffic volumes and levels of traffic emissions, and have been identified as areas of planned development and aligned with the priority areas identified in the current Borough Plan. Brent will develop strategic policies and localised focussed air quality measures in these areas. 

They will:
·      provide extra assistance and support to ensure that all schools within the AQAAs have and use school travel plans, reducing vehicle use associated with schools, regularly reviewing targets for reducing air pollution and establishing programmes for raising awareness;
·       provide assistance and support to businesses within the AQAAs with large fleets to have and utilise travel plans. The council and businesses will agree targets for emission reductions;
·      Identify possible Low Emission Neighbourhoods in each AQAA and draft implementation plans for areas within each;
·      Consider these sites within these areas as highest priority for public realm improvements (such as additional green infrastructure) especially where there are those at highest risk or the most susceptible are located such as schools, residential properties and hospitals 
·       to educate and raise awareness about local air quality; - working with communities and public health professionals to protect and inform the most vulnerable 

The Plan lists detailed action points for each of these areas:
  • Emissions from new developments and buildings
  • Public health and community engagement
  • Delivery servicing and freight
  • Exposure reduction measures
  • Cleaner transpor
See the full action points in Appendix 1 below:
Click bottom right to enlarge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

tackle pollution from diesel emitting buses should be a high priority