Agenda item

Clean Air Plan


The Chair commented that this agenda item was in the context of the Mayors letter to the Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP. 


Officers outlined the current situation and said that the work on the Outline Business Case for the Nitrogen Dioxide Compliance Plan had taken longer than initially anticipated and so the Council was unable to submit the Plan by the requested date of December 2018. The City Council is working with Defra in continuing detailed technical work on the Outline Business Case to fully explore all possible options.  This includes an option which does not require the charging of private cars.


Officers said there are two main issues needing to be addressed which are particulates and nitrogen dioxide however the burning of solid fuels is also an issue.


The Chair reiterated that this agenda item was in the context of the Mayors letter to the Under Secretary of State for the Environment which had laid out Bristol City Council's position in developing an approach to improving Bristol's air quality.


·       As was stated in the report, senior officers met with the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit on 11th February 2019 to discuss progress on the Outline Business Case (OBC).  Officers said it had been reported then that BCC would not be submitting the OBC as they were relooking at alternative options to reach compliance.  The letter it was said ‘sets out the Council’s position’.

·       A Member asked if officers were ‘right back at the desk-top stage’ again.  He stated that last March officers said they were trying to protect those on low incomes as they were most at risk but asked how was the Council protecting those at risk dying early?

·       It was asked how and why other cities are doing this and Bristol isn’t yet. In response it was said that Southampton has just said that it is not doing Clean Air Zone as they need to revisit some elements first.  Bristol it was said wants to learn from others too but others are changing their assumptions as well.  Officers said that everyone was of the view that this needed to be done  but there were also a range of other issues to consider. The modelling showed the proposed options would have a disproportionate effect those on low incomes.

·       The Chair said that the Mayor speaks of unacceptable outcomes and yet the courts have said that this must be completed in the shortest possible time. 

·       It was suggested that a transport policy change is needed that for example targets buses and taxis.  The bigger challenge it was said was cars but perhaps this was for a later day. 

·       Some Members described the pollution levels as a public health issue and asked why the Council couldn’t start with some practical actions such no idling zones outside schools and play areas.  One Member was suggested that people should be made aware of poor air quality issues so they can take precautions.  It was replied that there are high levels of pollution almost all of the time and that warnings could result in scaring people in appropriately.  It was argued that at least people would be alerted to it as they are with such things as congestion problems.

·       The Cabinet Member for Transport said that there will shortly be a freight consolidation trial for 6 months along the Avon Portway.

·       One Member said that he had previously shown some draft plans to his residents and their view was that it could push more traffic on to A37 and negatively affect their life expectancy.

·       It was strongly suggested by a Member that ‘no one has asked the poorest people what they think about this’ and that the Council was supposed to be doing this.  Members subsequently requested an up-to-date timeline of what will happen when.  ACTION: Officers to provide this information to Members

·       Officers said lots of engagement work had been undertaken but not ‘public consultation’ yet because the Council doesn’t know what it is consulting on yet. The Chair said that the Mayors letter says we need to re-model again and we need resources to do it.  ACTION Members asked if they could have a breakdown of costs required.

·       Members expressed their disappointment that the Council had not moved forward on this when other cities appeared to be.

·       Officers said that further technical information would be uploaded on the webpages the following day.

·       ACTION: Members requested a progress update on the ‘no idling’ zones.

·       ACTION:  It was agreed that the presentation slides would be provided to Members and uploaded on the meeting webpage.

·       Officers confirmed that they are looking at ways to accelerate the work on this so that the Council can still make its targets. 


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