Agenda item

Contact Officer: Tom Payne

This report provides the Committee with a summary of the work currently undertaken in order to fulfil our statutory duties in relation to local air quality.

Minutes:

The Chair invited visiting speakers Martin Heath and Martin Biermann from the Basingstoke Transition Network (BTN) to address the Committee and give a short presentation, their comments included:

 

  • The main concern for good air quality was NOx and Particulate matter.

 

  • An explanation of their results of air NOx monitoring.

 

  • More encouragement of cycling within the Borough would help to improve air quality.

 

  • They had identified eight key areas of action:

 

1)    Increase the level of monitoring

2)    Build awareness of the issue

3)    Encourage fewer journeys

4)    Improve (not cut) bus services and public transport

5)    Shift to walking and cycling

6)    Encourage EV and low carbon transport

7)    Use technology to reduce congestion

8)    Ensure every planning decision is taken in light of the impact on air quality

 

The Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment thanked the Basingstoke Transition Network for their presentation and introduced the report which provided the committee with a summary of the work that the council had currently undertaken in order to fulfil its statutory duties in relation to local air quality and ensure that it meets national standards.

 

She then invited the Regulatory Services Manager to comment further on the report.

 

He explained that following the concerns from BTN they had agreed new monitoring locations. He informed the committee that they had been in contact with Hampshire County Council in regards to work that they had been carried out with local schools such as the “my journey” initiative which promoted and raised awareness of air quality issues. The Council had recently gone out to consultation on the new taxi and private hire policy which sought to introduce an age limit on vehicles to ensure that they had met the new stricter emissions limits.

 

The committee asked questions to the Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment and Officers which included:-

 

  • What processes could be introduced to pre-empt any serious issues.

 

  • Concern was raised in regards to the amount of electric charging points currently within the borough and whether only having three points made residents less receptive to switching to electric vehicles from internal combustion vehicles.

 

  • Clarification was sought in regards to whether the Council had looked at its vehicle fleet as a whole with specific reference to buses and what euro standard we use currently. The Regulatory Services Manager agreed to provide the committee with more detail on the profiles of its existing fleet.

 

The Chair invited the committee to make any further comments which included:-

 

  • They welcomed the initiative to work with the HCC School Travel Team to monitor specific areas such as outside schools within the borough

 

  • They welcomed the fact that if members had specific concerns about any sites then they were able to contact and discuss with officers

 

  • They noted that Basingstoke transition network believed that the statutory limits were being exceeded

 

 

Resolved: The Committee:

 

1)    Supports BTN’S identified eight areas of action and encourages Officers and the Portfolio holder to work with them and other organisations in order to implement these changes.

 

2)    As a council we should continue to do everything within our power to promote cleaner air.

 

3)    Notes that DEFRA has expressed concern regarding the A339 and officers had been in contact with them to determine which specific part of the road they were referring to in order to take any appropriate action.

 

4)    Requests that Ward councillors be made aware of any air quality concerns within their ward.

 

5)    Request that officers return in 12 months’ time in order to update the committee on the specific positive actions that the council has made in regard to air quality.

 

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