Bath & North East Somerset Council is to highlight the work it’s doing over the coming year to radically reduce Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution, caused by vehicle emissions in Bath, by 2021 at the latest. The first in a series of open public events will be held at Widcombe Social Club on Wednesday 21 February (1-5.30 pm).
The council is one of 29 local authorities identified as part of the National Air Quality Plan as needing extra help to reduce NO2 within the timeframe, and as a result is able to get significant Government funds and expertise, not previously available, for air quality improvements in affected parts of the city.
Councillor Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods & Development, said: “This is absolutely critical to improve the health of residents and people working in Bath. Public suggestions, put forward during the consultation on Bath’s Air Quality Action Plan, have already helped to produce a list of over 60 ideas to help improve air quality in the city. From this work, the Council will compile a short list of the best package of measures capable of achieving reduction targets quickly; and by 2021 at the latest.
“The Council will then work with the community to decide upon a preferred package by the end of the summer, and submit final proposals by the end of December 2018.”
In compiling the shortlist and considering the preferred package, the Council will be assessing the impacts on air quality, health, residents and the economy.
Councillor Mark Shelford (Conservative, Lyncombe), Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment, said: “High levels of vehicle emissions in Bath, particularly at peak times, have resulted in unacceptable levels of NO2 in areas such as the London Road. Tackling emissions and encouraging more people to choose greener ways to get about will have a direct impact on improving the health of local people.
“We have started a progressive journey to improve air quality within Bath and North East Somerset’s densely populated areas – including plans to make the cost of parking in Park and Rides more attractive than city centre car parks for long stay commuters. This latest stream of work is a priority and by the end of December we’ll have identified the best and most effective package of measures that can significantly improve air quality in the worst affected areas of the city by 2021.”
Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Council Leader, said: “I welcome the fact that the Government has recognised the importance of this issue and agreed to fund the project. We’ve already had £100,000 to do all of the preparatory work with a promise of more money to work up and implement the final package of measures.”
“While this particular project focuses on Bath, the Council aims to use what it learns from the project to inform other air quality improvement schemes across the whole area.”
Along with two formal engagement periods the council will continually talk with stakeholders and the public starting with a series of drop-in sessions, workshops and events, and a social media campaign #BathBreathes2021.
For more information, go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe or follow #BathBreathes2021 on social media.