Issue - meetings

Air Quality Strategy

Meeting: 05/03/2024 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 45)

45 Air Quality Strategy - Workplan Update pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:


The Lead Councillor for Regulatory and Democratic Services introduced the report submitted to the Committee and thanked the Environmental Protection Lead and the Compliance Officer, Environmental Control, for their work.  She highlighted the collaborative actions relating to air quality mitigation on the A3 Guildford by National Highways, the Council, and Surrey County Council.  The Lead Councillor for Regulatory and Democratic Services noted the Council’s statutory duties in relation to air quality and the submission of an Air Quality Annual Status Report.  In addition, she spoke of the health risks from air pollution and the importance of measures such as Ella’s Law. 


The Environmental Protection Lead referred to smoke control areas in the Borough and particulate pollution, before indicating that the current main pollutant of concern in Guildford was nitrogen dioxide.  The Compliance Officer, Environmental Control, informed the Committee that nitrogen dioxide levels were provided from fifty-five diffusion tubes at sites in the Borough.  The Environmental Protection Lead indicated that diffusion tubes provided monthly readings of nitrogen dioxide levels and confirmed that the Council had ceased real time monitoring many years previously.  He advised that National Highways did undertake some real time monitoring at sites in the Borough. 


The Committee was advised the Committee of the three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in the Borough.  The Environmental Protection Lead outlined the Electric Towns and Cities Initiative Guildford scheme for a section of the A3 trunk road in Guildford.  He advised that the scheme for the A3 had a total funding of £11 million; by way of comparison, the meeting was advised that the funding available through Defra’s air quality grant scheme, for which local authorities in England could apply, totalled £6.5 million for the year.  The Environmental Protection Lead advised that National Highways was responsible for addressing the exceedance on the A3.


The Environmental Protection Lead advised the Committee that the air quality action plans for Guildford town centre and for Shalford were challenging.  He indicated the value of improving air quality across the Borough as well as within AQMAs.  In addition, the meeting was advised of officers’ enforcement duties.


During the ensuing discussion several points were raised and clarifications offered as follows:


          In reply to questions, the Environmental Protection Lead indicated real time monitoring of air pollution in the Borough had ended because it had been judged as not cost-effective.  The meeting was advised that the running costs of each of the two real time monitoring units in the Borough had been approximately £20k. 


          In response to a question on the most importance actions to take to tackle air quality, the Environmental Protection Lead suggested the value of raising public awareness and education about air quality issues, rather than a focus on enforcement.


          With reference to schools hosting pupils from schools that have RAAC, a member of the Committee asked if the Council had the ability to measure the impact on air quality of such an increase in traffic around a school or whether the Council was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45

Meeting: 15/09/2020 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 20)

20 Air Quality Strategy Action Plan Update pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Additional documents:


The Regulatory Services Manager introduced the item, summarising the report submitted to the Committee.


During the ensuing discussion a number of points and clarifications were made:


The Compton Air Quality Management Area, referred to in section 8 of the appendix to the report, would be monitored but it was too soon to establish the impact of banning the right turn into Down Lane.  The Regulatory Services Manager undertook to progress the issue of the no-right turn signage being obscured.


A member of the Committee suggested a park and ride for Shalford would help tackle air quality in that locality.  The Regulatory Services Manager indicated that such a proposal had been explored previously and the rationale for it had been judged insufficient.


The Committee asked the Regulatory Services Manager for details of the decline in levels of public transport use during COVID-19 and how its use might be encouraged and car-use discouraged.  In response, the Committee was advised that confidence in the COVID measures on buses and trains would grow and changes in working from home might maintain some of the recent improvements in air quality seen during COVID. 


The Regulatory Services Manager undertook to investigate the availability of data for public transport usage during the pandemic.


The Committee was advised that the £30,000 grant awarded to the Council by Highways England had been used to employ consultants to look at potential measures to improve emissions along the A3.  The Regulatory Services Manager confirmed that pre-COVID-19 data was being used to inform this work.


With reference to breaches of air quality standards along the A3, the Committee was advised that Highways England would be legally required to implement measures to achieve compliance by 2021.


The Committee was advised that it was hoped the anti-vehicle idling campaign would be implemented by its target date of 2021.


RESOLVED:  That the progress achieved implementing the Air Quality Strategy be noted.