Improving air quality the subject of new public consultation

A six week public consultation about three proposed air quality management areas in the Wycombe district is set to start on Friday 13 October.

As part of the consultation, local residents and businesses will be able to give their views on the size and coverage of the two new proposed air quality management areas in High Wycombe and Marlow and how they might affect them. The council is also asking for views on changes to an existing air quality management area along the M40, which has resulted in some improvements to air quality due to lower vehicle emissions since it was introduced in 2004.  

Cabinet agreed two new Air Quality Management Areas in High Wycombe and Marlow after the council’s annual air quality report showed levels of nitrogen dioxide along some busy roads had exceeded government objectives.

Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet Member of Environment Cllr Julia Adey said: “Now we know that the air quality in these areas needs to be improved, we want to act quickly to bring the nitrogen dioxide levels back below the national target. We have a statutory obligation to monitor the air quality in our area – something we take very seriously, which is why we plan to declare two new air quality management areas in High Wycombe and Marlow to improve the air quality for our residents.

“During this consultation, we want residents and businesses to tell us if they think that the proposed areas are adequate or if they should be extended and if so why. We also want to hear about any ideas you have that may help us to improve the air quality.”

All of the representations in this consultation will be taken into consideration before formally declaring the air quality management areas by the end of the year. Once the AQMAs are declared at the end of the year, the council has an obligation to produce an Air Quality Action Plan to bring pollutants below the national objectives.

The plan would see the council applying for government grants and working with its partners to deliver measures to improve air quality along the affected areas.

Improvement measures could potentially include new cycling networks, adding extra electrical charging points around the district to encourage the use of hybrid and electrical cars, and retrofitting buses to ensure they have the greenest engines.

Cllr Adey added: “We are already looking at potential ideas, projects and quick wins we can achieve to reduce air pollution within the designated AQMAs,  but these will not be put in place until the action plan has been drawn up and approved.  The quick wins will hopefully be able to be put in place somewhat sooner."

“However, I’m pleased our partners – including the county council, Highways England and bus companies – have already pledged their support to improve air quality in the district.”

Have your say in the proposed new air quality management area consultation