Agenda item

To answer questions asked by Members of the Council under procedural rule 7.9

1) Question from Cllr Whiting to the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Natural Habitat:


What steps is Gedling Borough Council taking to improve air quality?


A question was asked of the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Natural Habitat from Councillor Whiting:


“What steps are Gedling Borough Council taking to improve air quality?


Response from Councillor V McCrossen:


Air pollution affects us all. It is associated with impacts on lung development in children, heart disease, stroke, cancer, exacerbation of asthma and increased mortality, among other health effects.


The Borough Council has a statutory responsibility under the following legislation, all of which help to improve air quality within the Borough.


The Environmental Permitting Regulations


The Local Authority sets permits for industrial processes under Part A2 and Part B of the regulations; setting permit conditions based on the operation. For example:


         Petrol stations

         Dry cleaners

         Crushing and screening of concrete and bricks•          Using solvents (e.g., vehicle respraying)


         Animal carcase incineration


Also, regulation of medium combustion plants, those that are generally used to generate heat for large buildings (e.g., offices, hotels, hospitals) and industrial processes.


All of these can be sources of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter (PM).


Officers in Public Protection permit and regulate 3 Part A2 industrial process and 23 Part B processes.


Environmental Protection Act 1990 – Statutory Nuisance


Councils must investigate complaints about issues that could be a ‘statutory nuisance’. In this case this would apply to smoke from premise inc. garden bonfires and chimneys (for residents not in smoke control areas.)


Officers deal with approx. 50-60 complaints about garden bonfires and 40-50 complaints about other smoke from properties per year.


The Clean Air Act 1993


Regulation of Smoke Control Areas where someone cannot emit smoke from a chimney unless they are burning an authorised fuel or using DEFRA ‘exempt appliances’, for example burners or stoves.


It also contains prohibitions on emitting dark smoke from the chimneys of any building or industrial or trade premises.


The Borough has 41 Smoke Control Order covering approximately 80% of the population. DEFRA have recently asked LAs to review their smoke control orders. A report will be going to E&L committee soon proposing a public consultation on moving to a Borough wide smoke control area.


Gedling has also recently adopted new powers to enforce financial penalties for contraventions of smoke in a smoke control area.


We are planning a piece of promotion work with Trading Standards and other LAs in the County around the area of wood and fuels sold for domestic burning; promotion of the Ready to Burn scheme.

The Environment Act 1995 Section 82 - Local Air Quality Management (LAQM)


The Borough Council has a statutory duty, under the Environment Act to review and assess air quality in its area to see if the air quality objectives are being achieved. Whilst there are 5 key pollutants in reality, we are concerned with two: Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter.


Both are particularly prevalent in vehicle emissions, including tyre and brake wear, but also from other forms of combustion (gas boilers (NO2) or wood burning (PM)).


For areas where specified standards and objectives are not being met, we are expected to declare an Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and then prepare an action plan.


Gedling have a long history of monitoring Nitrogen Dioxide levels throughout the Borough. Particulate Matter monitoring has been historically more challenging; but we are currently trialling some new technology which may help understand the levels locally.

This data is presented online to members of the public.


Gedling has one Air Quality Management Area for the A60 in Daybrook Square for Nitrogen Dioxide. We have been working together with Nottinghamshire County Council to implement the Action Plan; most measures are traffic related.


Gedling produces an annual report, submitted to DEFRA, reporting levels of pollution and updates on actions within the action plan. This is also submitted to the Director of Public Health for comments.


Levels of pollution along the Mansfield Road, following Covid-19, remain below the objective level, as such in 2024-25 it is considered that we could recommend to DEFRA that the air quality management area could be revoked if levels remain below the objective.


Whilst the Borough Council has the duty to review and assess (and where there is a problem formulate and Action Plan) other parties equally have a key role in helping to reduce pollution levels; in our case this is the Highways Authority (County Council), Environment Agency and Public Health.


In tackling air pollution then the Council must work together with other agencies in order to try and bring forward packages of measures that, it is hoped, reduce pollution levels.


One result of this joint working was Gedling being a key stakeholder in the publication of The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Air Quality Strategy 2020-2030.


Other areas of work include Electric Vehicle charging:


         We have worked as a partner in the Go Ultra Low project to secure 2 rapid chargers and 8 fast chargers across 4 car parks.

         We were successful in obtaining £100k to fund 16 fast chargers across 4 car parks to facilitate overnight charging for residents with no off-street parking.

         We continue to use planning to secure EV charging points on new developments to allow residents to charge at home.


We are also working on idling vehicles which is carried out by the Neighbourhood Wardens primarily around schools at drop-off/pick up times to educate parents to turn off engines whilst waiting.


The ECO Stars Fleet Recognition Scheme ran in Gedling from 2012 until 2020 and provide help to operators of HGVs, buses, coaches, vans to run their fleets in the most efficient and green way. Membership stood at 139 members operating over 8000 vehicles at project closure in 2020, due to funding challenges.