How should local authorities treat proposals for developments inside AQMAs, or likely AQMAs?

2016-11-21 12:00:00

The content of this FAQ has been consolidated into the latest LAQM Policy Guidance, Part 2:

Policy Guidance LAQM.PG(16)

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When a local authority, however, is considering an application for a development inside, or near to, an actual or proposed AQMA, air quality must be taken into account. In reaching its decision, the weight an authority attaches to air quality relative to other factors will, of course, vary from case to case, depending on local circumstances. More weight, for example, may need to be given to air quality considerations where a development would have a significant, adverse impact on air quality inside, or adjacent to, an air quality management area than where the air quality effects of the development itself are likely to be minimal. Local authorities will be best placed to take these decisions in the light of local circumstances.
All applications for development inside AQMAs should be supported by sufficient information to allow a full consideration of their likely impact on local air quality. It is therefore important that developers are aware of the existence of any AQMAs. It may be appropriate in some circumstances for the developer to fund mitigating measures elsewhere inside the AQMA to offset any increase in local pollutant emissions as a consequence of the proposed development, or to pay for the purchase of monitoring equipment. These measures could be introduced through planning obligations.
In considering whether a site inside an AQMA is an appropriate location for new housing, local authorities may also wish to consider by how great a margin the air quality objectives are currently exceeded, and when they are forecast to be achieved.
PPS23, (CLG's Planning Policy Statement on planning and pollution control) has been published and is available online. In Scotland, the most recent version of Planning Advice Note (PAN) 51, Planning and Environmental Protection was published in 2006. In Wales, planning policy for improving air quality is contained in Planning Policy Wales (PPW) issued in April 2002.(23 November 2004).
The Defra’s Low Emission Strategies Guidance (available online here) also provides useful advice on ensuring positive development in polluted areas.

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