To consider the attached report on the air quality action plan.
Cllr Williamson thanked the officers for the work in preparing the draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) and commended the plan to the Committee. M Thompson, Technical Service Manage, advised the Committee that the process to develop the AQAP was prescribed in law and required a public consultation exercise before submission to Defra for approval and the subsequent adoption by Council. The proposed draft AQAP sought to improve air quality in the district and supported the aims of the Climate Change Action Plan and work around improving air quality for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation.
The Committee raised several points and A Ventura (EHO – Pollution Officer) and B Stalabrass (Team Manager – Business and Corporate) advised that:
· freight movements formed part of planning policy, some planning application had construction management plans which contained provision for the entry and exit routes of vehicles.
· the impact of ULEZ was of concern. There had been liaison with TfL and monitoring would be included in status report. No actions had been included in the AQAP as the impact was unknown
· there would be awareness and education in partnership with schools
· work with schools to trail monitoring and the introduction of schools exclusion zones for car drop offs near schools would be considered
· the impact of the pollution levels impact on the houses and places near the wake arms roundabout would be considered
· confirmed the District level of mortality attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5 was 6.1% above the England average of 5.6 %
· Qualis were on the steering group as they had been involved through several construction sites, input from all business would be welcomed, and
· a response would be provided on the detail of pollution levels and the current position of Essex CC Freight Strategy.
The Committee suggested that transport was critical to the delivery of the AQAP and
the impact on non -human sensitive receptors e.g bees should be considered
Cllr Bedford advised the Committee that the Portfolio Holder Advisory Group for Air Quality considered air quality in Epping Forest and as part of the mitigation strategy associated with the special area of conservation (SAC). Monitoring sites near the Wake Arms roundabout had been agreed with the City of London (CoL) who were considering the installation of temporary signs to advised motorists to turn off their engines, rather than sit with engines idling. Road improvements has also been agreed on the A1403 between the Wake Arms and Woodford.
Cllr Heap advised that he would submit written comments to the officers.
The Committee were advised that sustainable transport was an item on the agenda for the next meeting and safe cycleways for new developments could be covered by that item
Resolved: The Committee endorsed the Draft AQAP and approved the four-week public consultation between the months of January and February 2023.
Officers provided a written response after the meeting:
· Essex County Council had an aspiration for an Essex Freight Strategy, but there was no programme in place.
· In relation to pollution levels:
Table 3.1(b) (agenda, page 88) of the draft Air Quality Action Plan shows the trend of fraction (%) of mortality attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5). In 2018, Epping Forest had a value of 8.0% as compared to the England average of 7.1%, in 2019 Epping Forest had a value of 8.1% as compared to the England average of 7.1% and in 2020, Epping Forest had a value of 6.1% as compared to the England value of 5.6%.
Table 3.1(c) (agenda, page 89) shows how Epping Forest compares to neighbouring authorities