22 April 2024

Council asks for views on key air quality documents

Wiltshire Council is asking for people’s feedback on its action plan to help ensure the air quality throughout Wiltshire is safe.

A statutory consultation is now underway on the council’s Air Quality Action Plan, which runs for six weeks until 4 September.

Through its Business Plan, Wiltshire Council is committed to Wiltshire being a place where everyone takes responsibility for the environment.

As well as transport contributing over a third of all carbon emissions in Wiltshire, it also releases harmful gases that affect the quality of the air. Wiltshire Council monitors air quality across the county to assess the levels of harmful gases in the local environment.

This monitoring has shown that the air quality in Wiltshire is very good but in a few heavily trafficked areas they have identified levels of nitrogen dioxide that are too high. Nitrogen dioxide is a product of combustion and in Wiltshire’s case the high levels is being caused by emissions from motor vehicles.

The biggest contributors are diesel cars and Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) have been declared around Wiltshire where the nitrogen dioxide levels are excessive. The council is required by law to produce an action plan detailing the measures that will be used to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in these locations.

The council has produced a summary of its Air Quality Action Plan alongside a more detailed plan to help inform people how it plans to ensure the quality of the air the local population breathes is safe.

The plan contains a list of proposed actions and measures that the council will take to improve air quality, more specifically the reduction in levels of nitrogen dioxide in eight areas in the county where levels have been found to be excessive.

The Air Quality Action Plan is being consulted on at the same time as the draft Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

This provides an important mechanism to help the council achieve the aims and objectives of the action plan. Feedback is welcomed on all documents and people are encouraged to complete short surveys. A link to all the documents, including the surveys to complete, can be found at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/air-quality-wiltshire.

The consultations are open to everyone. A hard copy of the draft Air Quality Action Plan is available in the council’s libraries in towns where Air Quality Management Areas are located. These are Marlborough, Bradford on Avon, Calne, Westbury, Devizes and Salisbury.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “The air quality in Wiltshire is predominantly safe, but there are a handful of areas where we closely monitor activity and do what we can to make improvements. The environment and air quality are a responsibility we all must take on board though.

“As a council we are in a strong position to lead from the front, and that’s why we support programmes that encourage young people and their families to walk or cycle more for short trips. If we all do our bit then we can make a genuine positive difference.

“I encourage people to provide feedback on these important documents to help shape this work going forward.”

A summary of responses will be made following the consultation period. These responses will be fully considered, and, if appropriate, changes will be made to the draft action plan to help produce a final version prior to the council considering it for formal adoption.

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns