Agenda item

Air Quality / Schools

Gareth Jones, Senior Environmental Health Officer


The Chairman introduced Gareth Jones, Senior Environmental Health Officer, advising that his paper would be taken as read and inviting members to ask any questions. 


Asked about no idling zones outside of Schools, he confirmed that the member was correct in his understanding, that these could only be adopted within an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).  He noted that these powers were rarely adopted by councils as they were costly to police and in practice, most drivers, when confronted, simply switched off their engines or drove away.  


Monitoring had been set-up outside Gloucester Road Primary School some two weeks ago and whilst it was working, it had not yet been reviewed.


Following the changes to the AQMA, a new action plan had to be prepared and whilst this would focus on the AQMA, any provisions could have a positive impact on other areas across the town and therefore he welcomed any ideas in terms of air quality.  The team regularly applied for funding and therefore encouraged members to contact them with any suggestions. 


Mesh pods had been put up again across the town in the last couple of weeks and the NOX tubes had been up across the town for the last 20 years.  The location of all monitoring equipment was available on the council and DEFRA

websites and was agreed by O&S in February.


CBC had offered to assist GCC with the pollution monitoring element of the ‘Streets for Schools’ project and was preparing a quote for this work.  It was also noted that Officers were happy to provide information or data to Schools producing a School Travel Plan (STP), which should encourage active travel choices amongst staff, parents and pupils. 


He couldn’t recall pollution levels ever having been over 40 in Prestbury or the High Street, suggesting that they wouldn’t have removed the monitoring equipment if this had been the case and stressed that the annual average was more important than a peak at certain times.  He confirmed that Prestbury Road was subject to increased monitoring, though levels were lower than expected this year and assured members that the pods did monitor down to PM2.5.  He also advised members that the location of the NOX tubes would be reviewed at the end of the year and it was possible to put them anywhere and everywhere, but there were cost implications to such a decision.


The revised Air Quality Action plan would start to be developed over the coming months, but was likely to take a year to finalise and there would a wide range of opportunities for members to get involved, as a large number of stakeholders would be engaged in the process. 


Members were urged to bear in mind that as with many projects relating to pollution, the ‘Streets for Schools’ project would require at least a year of monitoring before any useful conclusions could be drawn, as levels varied so much from season to season that shorter term monitoring offered little to no value.


He was aware of functional public art on the continent and asked that the member share details of art installations which filtered particulates from the air, which could then be turned into ink to be used for other art, whilst at the same time being aesthetically pleasing.  This would be emailed to him outside of the meeting.


The Chairman thanked the Senior Environmental Health Officer for his attendance and advised that a similar update would be scheduled for a future meeting. 


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