Policy ENV 12 Air quality
Proposals that are likely to have an impact on local air quality will be required to provide an air quality assessment (AQA). Where the AQA shows that the construction or operational characteristics of the development would cause harm to air quality, including cumulatively with other planned or committed development, planning permission will be refused unless measures are adopted to acceptably mitigate the impact.
4.76 This policy adds further detail to LPS Policy SE 12 'Pollution, land contamination and land instability', which seeks to make sure that all development is located and designed so as not to result in poor air quality.
4.77 Every local authority in England and Wales has a statutory duty to review local air quality under the Environment Act 1995. The aim of the review process is to identify any areas where the government’s national air quality objectives for eight key pollutants (benzene; 1,3-butadiene; carbon monoxide; lead; nitrogen dioxide (NO2); sulphur dioxide; particulates (PM10); and ozone) are likely to be exceeded. If the objective is breached, local authorities are required to declare any such areas as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and then to prepare action plans setting out measures to improve air quality in these areas.
4.78 The council has declared several AQMAs. All the AQMAs are declared on the basis of being likely to breach annual (mean) concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. Further information, including maps of these areas, can be viewed on the council's website footnote 5. The council has produced an Air Quality Action Plan, which outlines the measures needed to improve air quality and is reviewed every five years as a minimum. In addition, an Annual Status Report is published, which provides an overview of air quality for that year.
4.79 An air quality assessment will be required where proposals are of a nature or scale likely to have a significant or cumulative impact upon local air quality, particularly where development is located in or within relative proximity to an AQMA. The level of assessment will depend on the nature, extent and location of the development.
4.80 Where an air quality assessment indicates a development is likely to have a significant impact upon local air quality, mitigation measures should be applied. Mitigation measures should be locationally-specific, with the nature and scale of mitigation required being proportionate to the extent of the impact. Examples of mitigation are cited within National Planning Practice Guidance (paragraph 008 Reference ID: 32-008-20191101). The Low Emissions Strategy Partnership footnote 6 also provides mitigation advice, particularly regarding how large developments can minimise traffic emissions. If on-site mitigation cannot be fully achieved, contributions towards projects within the council’s Air Quality Action Plan and/or Low Emission Strategy in lieu of mitigation may be negotiated.
4.81 Policy ENV 15 'New development and existing uses' sets out that existing uses should not have unreasonable restrictions placed upon them by new development (‘agent of change’ principle). This policy will also be considered if the introduction of ‘sensitive receptors’ into an area of poor air quality is proposed.
(Footnote 5) www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/environment/environmental_health/local_air_quality/aqma_area_maps.aspx
(Footnote 6) https://www.lowemissionstrategies.org
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