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Agenda item

Air Quality Action Plan for Sheffield

Report of the Executive Director, Place.







The Executive Director, Place, submitted a report providing an update on the new Air Quality Action Plan for Sheffield 2015 and seeking approval for its implementation. The Action Plan set out the causes and impacts of air pollution, and proposed seven commitments to reduce air pollution in Sheffield and achieve national air quality targets and European Union (EU) limit values by 2015,  in furtherance of Sheffield’s aspiration to be a City where health inequalities are eliminated and air is healthy for all to breathe and to meet the Council’s commitment to help improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Sheffield, ensuring that it was  an environmentally-responsible City, a key component of which was protecting and improving air quality.




The following minor amendments to the Plan were put forward:-




·       Page 12, Action 6 – Substitute the word “Predictable” for the word “Notable” in the second line of the first paragraph.


·       Page 28, Paragraph 6.29 - Substitute the word “Predictable” for the word “Notable” in the penultimate line of the paragraph.


·       Page 28, Paragraph 6.30 - Substitute the words “may open up the possibility of making gas vehicles for deliveries a condition of planning permission in some instances” for the words “that we could condition in planning applications”




RESOLVED: That Cabinet






notes and agrees the 3 minor amendments to the new Air Quality Action Plan outlined (Page 12, Action 6, Page 28, Paragraph 6,29 and Page 28, Paragraph 6.3)






approves the new Air Quality Action Plan for Sheffield 2015 for implementation;  






allocates a Steering Group and Working Group “champion” to each Action contained in the Action Plan, supported by a member of the local community;






delegates authority to the Executive Director, Place in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment, Waste and Streetscene, to take steps considered appropriate to implement the approved new Air Quality Action Plan for Sheffield subject to any necessary funding being identified and due regard being had to the legal implications set out in this report;






recognises that the Council’s overall Air Quality Champion will be the Director of Public Health as part of his role on the City’s Health and Wellbeing Board; and 






agrees that a fully refreshed Air Quality Action Plan be submitted to Cabinet, following the completion of the Low Emission Zone feasibility study, due in the Autumn 2012.





Reasons for Recommendations




Air pollution impacts negatively on Sheffield people’s health and economy as well as contributing to climate change.  Sheffield reflects the national picture, in that generally air quality is improving. However in many areas, near the motorway and within the busy urban centre, it has not improved, with some places seeing air quality worsening.




Reflecting national trends and many other major cities in the UK, Sheffield currently breaches UK and European Union thresholds for air quality. There is the potential for the UK government to be fined if the EU limits are exceeded past 2015, and the fines imposed could be significant, consequently this is a recognised risk for the Council.




The implementation of this revised Air Quality Action Plan seeks to reduce air pollution in Sheffield to achieve national air quality targets and EU limit values by 2015.  This will provide a better quality of life for all, particularly those living alongside the city’s main transport corridors where exposure to elevated pollution levels is more likely.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




To continue implementing the existing 2003 Air Quality Action Plan, after incorporating fine particles (PM10) that we have identified as being an additional pollutant to tackle. However, it was considered that this action would not have the required impact needed to meet national air quality targets, European Union (EU) limit values and protect health.




Doing nothing. However, this would mean that Sheffield would risk a possible fine, particularly if no additional efforts to tackle the problem were made, if the national air quality targets and EU limit values are exceeded by 2015.




Attempting to reduce emissions from traffic by using some form of demand management measure.  However, this may still not deliver the required air quality targets and EU limit values by 2015 and would also have a negative impact on Sheffield’s economy, working against the wider aims of the Corporate Plan.


Supporting documents: