The Environment Act, 1995 provides the statutory bases for consultation and liaison with respect to local air quality management. Defra and the Devolved Administrations expect local authorities to continue to work closely with other local authorities, agencies, businesses and the local community to improve local air quality.
Examples of consultation initiatives from around the UK are provided below. Examples include contact details, the aim or purpose of the event(s), a brief description of the event(s) including techniques used, people involved, how these were selected and contacted, whether consultants and/or in-house expertise were used, whether this was a stand-alone event or part of a process, an estimate of the resources used (financial, officers, time) and a discussion of the pitfalls to be avoided if the event were to be replicated.
Further information on air quality management consultation can be found in Chapter 6 of the Policy Guidance (LAQM.PG16).
Aylesbury Vale District Council
Aylesbury Vale District Council has installed an electronic display inside the studios of the local radio station Mix 96. Bulletins are broadcast four times a day, and when pollution reaches medium or high levels, the message includes advice on health protection from the local health authority.
Contact: Environmental Health.
Bristol City Council
Bristol has been piloting road-user charging schemes, and are also involved in a bus quality partnership which has resulted in a number of gas-powered buses. Bristol has also been piloting a variable message signing system which encourages people to use the park and ride service on days of bad air quality. Buses also have priority in special bus lanes on some sections of the main Bristol-Bath corridor. Contact: Steve Crawshaw, Bristol City Council, 0117 922 3407. A briefing note was compiled by Bristol City Council’s Department of Environment, Transport and Leisure to provide answers to some of the questions which might be raised by elected members and members of the general public.
Released: April 2010 (PDF, 90 KB, 6 pages)
The Cambridgeshire local authorities have brought together their consultation responses from across the county into a single document.
Released: May 2001 (PDF, 1.1 MB, 60 pages)
City of Edinburgh Council
Edinburgh has introduced “Green Lanes” on main arterial roads. Their use is restricted to buses and taxis at peak hours. A car free urban village has been developed close to the city centre. It aims to lower unnecessary car use in the city centre and create a more pleasant environment, particularly in relation to air quality and noise pollution. The City Car Club project provides access to rental cars at 15 minutes notice for an ultra low fee. Cars are parked at special street locations throughout the city and are available to club members at any time. The project is designed to reduce the number of private cars on city streets at a cost-effective price for users.
City of Glasgow Council
The City Council has drawn up a local transport policy that incorporates a City Cycling Network, Quality Bus Corridors and a City Centre Millennium Plan. Glasgow City Council and neighbouring authorities meet as part of the Greater Glasgow Air Quality Management Forum, ensuring co-operation between those authorities in assessing and implementing action concerning air pollutants.
Leeds City Council
Leeds has introduced multi-occupancy car lanes in a bid to reduce rush-hour congestion and traffic pollution. It has also introduced guided busways on certain dual carriageways to allow buses to bypass traffic queues and have priority at traffic lights. Over the last 2 years, this has reduced the total number of car journeys into the city centre by up to 1,000 a day, and increased the number of bus passengers in the rush-hour period by up to 50%.
Leicester City Council
Leicester has been piloting road-user charging schemes, linked to improved park and ride facilities. Under the scheme, volunteers were given theoretical credits which they could use to buy access for their car to the town centre, and were allowed to exchange any credits remaining for cash at the end of the period. Higher charges were imposed on days of bad air quality (with air quality information being communicated by electronic signs). Leicester has also run voluntary emissions checks for motorists in supermarket car parks, and has done some pioneering work modelling pollution from all major emissions sources across the city. This information is being incorporated into Leicester’s strategic plan to ensure that planning decisions take air quality into account.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Authorities in Greater Manchester have come together to develop a joint air quality management strategy which sets out a co-ordinated approach to improving air quality across the city. By integrating planning, transport and environmental health functions, it creates a framework for the long-term improvement of the county’s air quality.
Newcastle City Council
Newcastle City Council produce a regular newsletter on air quality which is circulated to places like GPs’ surgeries where individuals at risk are likely to be present. The user-friendly 4-page update summarises pollution levels over the previous 3 months and gives details of significant local and national developments, such as council initiatives and Government reports.
Nottingham City Council
Nottingham is planning to launch a “clear zone”, which will involve a combination of pedestrianised and partially-pedestrianised streets, selective traffic bans between 10.00 and 16.30, and quality agreements with bus and taxi operators. Under these voluntary agreements, bus and taxi operators have to ensure that their fleets are relatively new, or meet relatively new emissions standards.
Sheffield City Council
Sheffield has worked with other European cities to develop a comprehensive “Air Action” project to clean up the air in and around the town centre. They have put in place a green travel plan, and have encouraged other major local employers to do the same. They are involving local communities in the monitoring of pollutant levels, and has an interactive web site with real time air quality information, and are working closely with a number of other local agencies with an interest (including in particular the local health authority). They have developed a series of posters (including on the backs of buses) to raise awareness. They are working with the Highways Agency to explore whether lower speed limits on stretches of the M1 motorway would deliver significant local air quality benefits.
Westminster City Council
Many authorities are using cleaner vehicles to reduce emissions in town centres. Westminster, for example, became the first authority in the world to purchase a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Part-funded through the Government’s Powershift programme, this vehicle uses hydrogen to generate electricity and emits no harmful pollutants.