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 with 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 will be set out in our action plan.
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 details the measures which the Council proposes to take in improving air quality in all of the AQMAs .
The latest Action Plan for Cheshire East is in the process of being reviewed and is awaiting approval from DEFRA .
Air Quality Strategy
There are no statutory requirements for local authorities the 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 the 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.