Action on air pollution

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News release: 07 March 2017

A campaign to warn motorists in the St Albans District about the dangers of keeping their engines idling is to be launched later this year.

Holywell Hill

Emissions from stationary vehicles can cause high levels of air pollution that are harmful to health

Now St Albans City and District Council is to urge drivers to help improve the environment by refraining from the practise.

The anti-idling campaign is to start this spring and is one of a number of initiatives the Council is taking this year to cut air pollution.

Green travel will be the main focus with residents and visitors being encouraged to get involved and make fewer car trips.

They will be urged to turn to more eco-friendly forms of travel such as cycling, walking and public transport. Car sharing and electric vehicles will also be promoted.

Other measures include working with Hertfordshire County Council’s highways department on the completion of a traffic management plan for the City Centre. That is aimed at cutting emissions from heavy goods vehicles.

A review of loading and parking restrictions to reduce congestion is scheduled to be finished around the same time.

Officers will also continue to monitor the level of harmful nitrogen dioxide across the District and investigate any complaints of poor air quality.

Details of the work were given to a meeting of the Community, Environment and Leisure Scrutiny Committee of St Albans City and District Council on Tuesday 2 March.

The main cause of air pollution in the District is exhaust fumes from petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Such fumes can contribute to the onset of heart disease and cancer as well as other health problems.

The Council has a statutory duty to assess air quality within its area and determine whether EU standards are being met.

Three spots where there is often a build-up of traffic have previously been identified as falling short and declared Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

These are the Peahen Junction in the City Centre, Smug Oak Lane near the M25 and Beechtree Cottage on the A414 near the M1.

However, tests undertaken in 2015 showed the level of pollutants there had reduced and were within acceptable limits. If this continues, the AQMAs may be revoked.

The Council has also undertaken measures in past years to improve air quality.

A Clean Bus Technology project has been completed and resulted in 40 buses that operate in the District being modified to reduce emissions.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, the Committee’s Chair, said: “This was a valuable update on what the Council is doing on this crucial issue of air quality in the District.

“We have a duty to both monitor the levels of air pollution and to do something about it along with other public authorities when levels breach national standards.

“We need residents to get involved and to do their bit in the fight against air pollution. Engaging with the anti-idling campaign is one way they can help as well as taking up green travel options.

“The completion of the freight management plan early next year will be of considerable interest to residents, particularly to those who live or work close to the Peahen Junction.

“Traffic often backs up at that spot and the surrounding high buildings trap in the fumes.”

Councillor contact:
Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee of St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 07761-232064 Email: anthonyrowlands@hotmail.com

Contact for the media:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 296130
E-mail: john.mcjannet@stalbans.gov.uk
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