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Consultation to improve air quality in West Northants extended

14 March 2024

Northampton Town landscape

The public consultation on proposals to improve air quality across West Northamptonshire has been extended, giving people until midnight on 1 April to help shape the plans.

Reducing air pollution is vitally important to local health and environment. All councils have a duty to monitor some types of air pollution and take steps to make sure it meets legal standards. National government also has responsibility for measuring and taking steps to improve some types of air pollution including fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 that has been recognised as a significant contributor to poor health.

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) monitors air quality in several locations across the area. The way in which the Council measures air pollution is managed by national government guidance. This ensures that the data is reliable and can be used in making informed decisions to improve air quality.

WNC is in the process of developing an Air Quality Action Plan or AQAP which outlines the steps it will take to work towards improving air quality and reducing air pollution.

“The Air Quality Action Plan will enhance the work we already deliver with partners, such as National Highways, to improve air quality across our area.

“Our draft Air Quality Action Plan gives information on the actions that the Council is taking to reduce pollution. We are not looking at ULEZ congestion charging like other Councils have introduced. Regulation is only one of the ways in which national and local government can improve air quality and the choices we all make when travelling or heating our homes can also make a big difference. Please share your views on the actions proposed and help shape the plan.”
Cllr David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Engagement and Regulatory Services

Residents and businesses across the area are now invited to look at the proposals and share their views. People can have their say until midnight on Monday, 1 April by visiting the WNC website.

The draft AQAP replaces existing plans from former sovereign councils which have produced positive improvements in air quality and builds on them further. Some of the actions producing positive effects include:

  • controls around planning to make sure air quality is considered
  • reducing vehicle emissions by reducing congestion and encouraging alternative travel choices such as walking, cycling and public transport
  • delivering publicly available electric vehicle infrastructure

The feedback from the consultation will inform the final draft which will be submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), who oversees air quality plans. DEFRA will make a decision on the AQAPs suitability. Once in place, the AQAP will be annually reviewed when WNC publishes the Annual Status Report.

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