Work to start on 'action plan' to improve Harrogate District air quality

Work is set to begin on an action plan to improve air quality across the Harrogate District following the declaration of two new Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA).

Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th October 2017, 3:25 pm
The new Air Quality Action Plan will include all four AQMAs declared across the district.

The AQMAs will cover York Place in Knaresborough and at the Woodlands Junction on Wetherby Road in Harrogate.

Earlier this year, the council held a public consultation asking people for their views to determine the size of the AQMAs and suggestions for improving local air quality that could be included in the action plan.

Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport said: “Teams from Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council will work together to produce the action plan to improve air quality across the district.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in our recent public consultation and all responses received will be considered and investigated further.

"Suggestions have included looking at how we can reduce vehicle idling, promoting good driving techniques and the use of car share, encouraging the use of public and sustainable transport, and the opportunity to secure grant funding to help improve efficiency of local bus fleets.

“A draft action plan will be produced within 12 months and the council will then ask residents and businesses for their views before a final plan is published.”

Local councils are obligated by DEFRA to monitor the levels of nitrogen dioxide in their areas and ensure that they do not exceed the objectives set out in the National Air Quality Strategy.

If the objectives are not met in any one place, the council is obligated to declare an AQMA and produce an action plan to identify appropriate measures to improve air quality.

For some time now, results have shown that nitrogen dioxide levels are exceeding the national targets at both York Place in Knaresborough and the Woodlands Junction in Harrogate.

In November 2010, AQMAs at Bond End in Knaresborough and High and Low Skellgate in Ripon were declared and an Action Plan for these areas was adopted in 2013.

But HBC said the new Air Quality Action Plan produced a result of the latest consultation will contain actions to help to improve local air quality in all four areas.