CWAC Air Quality Action Plan Consultation – Your Views Needed!

Car ExhaustCheshire West and Chester Council is currently consulting the public regarding its Chester City Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).

The council has been monitoring air pollution levels in and around Chester city centre for a number of years. Generally air quality in Chester is good with the exception to this an area surrounding the city centre where monitored nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels have been consistently above the national annual objective. Consequently on 23 May 2017, the Council declared the whole of Chester city centre and stretches of major approach roads leading to the city an Air Quality Management Area. The main source of the pollution is traffic emissions and the Council have been exploring measures to reduce these emissions.

Study of the consultation document has highlighted a lack of ambition by the Authority, particularly with regard to the need to encourage a modal shift away from motor vehicles towards less polluting means of transport for shorter journeys. A worrying aspect of the proposed plan is the general lack of information on pollution levels at peak times – the only real-time monitoring site in Chester, for example, (according to the CWaC website) is on the heavily trafficked Boughton arterial route. All other readings are by means of an ‘averaging method’ of monitoring using “diffusion tubes” which inevitably cannot give any indication of peak levels.

This issue is of particular importance to vulnerable sections of the population, especially children, either walking (or even cycling) to school. Ironically, children being driven to school in cars generally experience worse levels of air quality, since air intakes in vehicles, typically, are sited at exhaust level of any vehicles in front.

The Campaign has developed a responses to the AQAP consultation based on work by Ashley McCraight of the Cycle North Cheshire Group(CNC) who has studied the consultation document in detail and developed a critique which has included input from several Campaign members. This document was discussed at the January Campaign meeting and forms the basis of individual submissions from both CNC and CCC.

You can read the Chester Cycling Campaign’s response by clicking here.

We would urge you to give a response to this consultation, which would help the Council be aware that there are significant numbers of local residents concerned about air quality for their children and families.

There are three main ways you can contribute your response:

1) Via the online response to the consultation document on the CWaC website.

2) Comments can also be emailed and paper copies of the survey can be requested via the following email address: environmentalprotection@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

3) By writing to: Environmental Protection Team, Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire CH65 0BE.

Note that there is a closing date of 16th February 2020!

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