Local air quality management

Local air quality management is a statutory process introduced by the Environment Act 1995 (Part IV), which places a legal duty on all local authorities to regularly review both the current and future air quality within their areas.  These reviews must follow Government guidance that sets health based objectives, which are considered to be acceptable given the known effects.  On the whole the air quality across the majority of the borough is good; however there are a number of small areas where, due to traffic, there are concerns about nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.  

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) recently updated the reporting obligations and now only requires local authorities to produce an Annual Status Report (ASR).  The purpose of the  ASR is to shift the focus towards what is being done to improve air quality locally and therefore, provides an update on monitoring undertaken and progress towards the various actions set out in our action plan.

Education in schools

The level of air pollution is currently a regular item on national and local media reports. Therefore, Cheshire East is currently looking at all options to try and educate and where possible, change perceptions with regards to air pollution. To help with this, the air quality team have produced an education package for delivery in schools to raise awareness within Key Stage 2 (KS2), specifically years 5 and 6.

The aim of the education package is to educate children about air pollution and the effects it can have on health. It is hoped that this will enable the children to have a better understanding about the choices they make and the effects these can have on both the environment and health.

The education awareness package includes a short session with hands on activities for the children, delivered by members of the air quality team. It gives children the opportunity to discuss the causes, effects and potential solutions to air pollution. For more information or to book a session please email airquality@cheshireeast.gov.uk.  

Air Quality Action Plans

The development of an Air Quality Action Plan is a statutory requirement once an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) has been declared.  Currently Cheshire East has a number of AQMAs , which have all been declared based of levels of nitrogen dioxide due to emissions from vehicles.  The Action Plan must detail the measures which the Council proposes to take in improving air quality in all of the AQMAs .

Air Quality Strategy

There are no statutory requirements for local authorities to have an Air Quality Strategy (AQS), but it is encouraged for those local authorities which have declared an AQMA .  The aim of the  AQS is to support the achievement of how the council will undertake its air quality responsibilities and how it will work both across internal departments and other relevant external partners.  This is important to ensure that air quality is considered as part of all relevant decisions and policies across the council.

Low Emission Strategy

Cheshire East is currently developing a Low Emission Strategy (LES) to ensure that current emissions are reduced as far as possible and emissions associated with new development are minimised. The LES will provide a package of measures selected on the basis of research and current best practice in emissions management.