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Why Air Quality is Important. Poor air quality in UK reduces life expectancy by average of 7/8 months. Costs UK health services £20 billion per year (similar to alcohol misuse). A main cause of many lung and heart diseases. Particulates are especially damaging to health.

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Why Air Quality is Important

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Why Air Quality is Important

Poor air quality in UK reduces life expectancy by average of 7/8 months.

Costs UK health services £20 billion per year (similar to alcohol misuse).

A main cause of many lung and heart diseases.

Particulates are especially damaging to health.

Encouragement of non-motorised transport directly improves health and fitness.

Reducing air pollution would have huge indirect benefits:

Fewer vehicles on roads

Reduction in noise and stress

More people walking and cycling

Reduction in greenhouse gases --> global warming

Less harm to many ecosystems


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Background to Managing Air Quality

  • Air quality targets are set by the EU.

  • Administered in the UK by DEFRA under various pieces of legislation, e.g. Environment Act (1995), Air Quality Standards Regulations (2007), etc.

  • Quality of the air must be measured for 10 pollutants, and maximum concentrations of these must be met by certain target dates.

  • Pollutants measured are: benzene, 1, 3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particles (x2), sulphur dioxide, ozone, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

  • Constant monitoring must be made at places suspected to be a problem – here measuring equipment is installed.

  • If exceedence levels are found for any pollutant then an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) is declared.

  • AQMAs can be very specific areas or much wider areas.

  • AQMAs must be reported on at least annually and an action plan must be developed by the Council – usually in conjunction with other authorities and/or stakeholders.

  • Detailed advice is given to Councils in “Local Air Quality Management – Policy Guidance (PG09). DEFRA 2009


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Air Pollution Milestones - Canterbury

1998 – 2002 First round of air quality assessments around Canterbury concluded there were no problems.

2003 – 2004 Second round of assessments found no problems but air quality much worse – Broad Street and Sturry Road need careful monitoring.

2005 survey found NO2 levels to be exceeding objectives in Broad St and Military Road.

2006 Parts of Broad St and Military Road declared an Air Quality management Area (AQMA). But Bureau Veritas (BV) find that exceedence not likely to be a problem elsewhere.

2007 BV commissioned to carry out detailed survey within the AQMA and beyond. 18 further sites start to be monitored. NO2 exceedence levels confirmed in Broad St and Military Road plus at additional sites in Wincheap, Sturry Road, North Lane and Rheims Way.

2008. BV recommend AQMA for North Lane and Rheims Way plus additional monitoring at St Peter’s Place.

2009. Additional problems at St Dunstans, Pin Hill identified


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Air Quality Readings 2006 in AQMA Area


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Further findings from Bureau Veritas (2007)

Levels of NO2 were 60% above permitted maximum in Broad Street.

With new A2 slip roads there would be a modelled reduction in NO2 levels in Broad Street of 0.2%.

A 4th Park & Ride at Harbledown would reduce NO2 levels in Broad Street by 0.6%.

86% of all NO2 was originating from vehicles.

With implementation of the existing Road Traffic Management plans levels of NO2 would be reduced by only 3% in Broad Street.

To reduce NO2 levels in Broad Street to the EC recommended maximum, then traffic volumes would immediately have to be reduced by nearly 55%.

By 2010, when the problem should have been tackled, they estimated that still a 45% reduction in vehicles would be needed.

But since 2007 no progress has been made in air quality.


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Predicted mean concentrations of NO2 in 2006


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Other Air Pollution facts - Canterbury

  • Although known NO2exceedence levels were high around Rheims Way, huge housing developments started in 2006 at Old Tannery site, at Sturry Road and near Habitat.

  • Huge Wincheap regeneration plans were produced despite fact that Wincheap was already polluted.

  • Apartments given the go-ahead in St Dunstan’s Street and Upper Chantry Lane whose windows cannot be opened because of the pollution levels.

  • Above developments all approved despite the fact that the Council recognises that – “It will be particularly important to ensure that traffic conditions are not allowed to deteriorate as this could result in worsening air quality, possible future breaches of limits and the declaration of more AQMAs or the extension of the existing one.” (Local Air Quality management Report – 2007).

  • Two schools are located in the current AQMA.

  • With each annual assessment we have been told that air pollution will be reduced by 2010, whereas in fact the opposite happens and BV find additional areas that are polluted.

  • Current situation means that the city is nearly encircled by air polluted areas, plus the three main radial routes of Wincheap, St Dunstan’s and the Sturry Road.


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NO2 levels in North Lane - 2007


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Proposed AQMA for Rheims Way – St Peter’s Place


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Some recent Government findings – Environmental Audit Committee – March 2010

Recent general air quality improvements have been made but these have now levelled off.

Road transport contributes 70% of urban pollutants.

London worst city in Europe for particulates, and fines will be soon be delivered to the Mayor of London.

UK now faces proceedings from the EU for failing to meet NO2 targets.

Warnings about the impact of poor air quality on health are not being

widely publicised.

Ozone reduces the yield of wheat in southern Britain by 5% to 15%.

National and local governments need to take a range of urgent actions to avoid paying very significant EU fines.

Better public understanding of air quality issues is critical.

Transport policy must change dramatically if the UK is to meet future targets and reduce exposure to air pollution.

Local authorities are the key to improving air quality.


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Main Aspects of the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan (2009)

Canterbury City Council will:

􀂃 Work with KCC to deliver the Congestion Plan for Canterbury and other traffic improvements

􀂃 Work with the Highways Agency and KCC to deliver the new A2 Slip Roads Schemes

􀂃 Work with partners to implement the Canterbury Parking Strategy, and further Park and Ride’s

􀂃 Work with KCC on the Canterbury Bus Strategy and the Quality Bus Partnership with Stagecoach

􀂃 Work with KCC to implement the Kent Freedom Pass scheme in Canterbury

􀂃 Investigate the potential for Roadside Emissions Testing in Canterbury.

􀂃 Request S106 contributions for developments likely to have an air quality impact on the AQMA

􀂃 Investigate the potential for use of NOX reducing paving and paints within the AQMA

􀂃 Consider investing in and making more use of LPG or electric cars and vehicles

􀂃 Investigate a route for a new A28/A257 link road.

􀂃 Consider signage in the Air Quality Management Area.


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General measures to solve air quality problems include:

Implement school, council and other workplace travel plans

Deliver improvements in emissions standards

Promote Kent-wide car share (or car club) schemes.

Improvements to the local cycle network

Ensure that air quality is taken account of in the planning process.

Make certain that high quality air pollution data is collected.

Join the Kent & Medway Air Quality Partnership.

Be proactive in enforcing industrial pollution controls.

Work with Kent Energy Centre to promote energy efficiency measures.

Consider the introduction of electric trams.


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But – we suggest that more radical solutions are needed to solve Canterbury’s Air Pollution problem:

Increase urban parking charges

Road charging schemes

Programmes to change public attitudes

Proactive health and environmental campaigns

Cheaper public transport

More incentives to work at home

Banners along street to shame motorists

Children to attend nearest schools

Park & Rides at more sensible locations

Encouragement of e-shopping and e-freighting

Better regional strategic locations for larger developments

Setting up ‘sustainability forums’ involving local people in planning for AQMA solutions

Encourage political leaders to be stronger on required principles


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