Neighbourhood, Environmental and Communities Cabinet Member – Minutes – 2 March 2010

86 (20) REVIEW OF AIR QUALITY MONITORING – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report seeking approval for proposed changes to the current air quality monitoring network.

Prior to the declaration of the Scunthorpe Air Quality Management Area (AQMA1) in 2005 limited data was available on PM10 concentrations across Scunthorpe. Consequently after successful DEFRA grant funding a further seven PM10 monitors were located around the integrated steelworks site to assess the local air quality and the accuracy of the AQMA1 boundary.

Over recent years the council had successfully bid for approximately £300,000 in air quality grant, which had been used to expand and run the existing pollution network. The original bid in 2009/10 for network running costs was unsuccessful and, in the absence of air quality grant funding running the current network was unsustainable.

The current pollution monitoring network cost £95,000 per annum to operate and, whilst some third party voluntary contributions were received, a significant portion was funded by the Environmental Protection team’s revenue account.

Many of the sites had been operational since 2005/2006 and a wealth of data was now available. The data showed that monitoring sites located outside AQMA1 had consistently achieved the Government’s air quality objectives whilst others located within the boundary of AQMA1 had breached. A map appended to the report identified existing monitoring sites to be retained, sites proposed for deletion, and proposed new sites.

Resolved – (a) That approval be given to the proposed changes to the current Air Quality Monitoring network, and (b) that consultation be carried out with all attendees of the AQMA meeting.

87 (21) ENFORCEMENT POWERS – VEHICLE ENGINE RUNNING – The Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment submitted a report seeking approval for the adoption of Fixed Penalty Notice powers to help improve local air quality by reducing unnecessary exhaust emissions from vehicles.

Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 required the Government to publish a national air quality strategy, and local authorities to review and assess air quality in their areas and to take action to improve any areas of poor air quality.

Regulation 98 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986[1], as amended, already made it an offence to leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle was parked. Under this proposal the council would be able to instruct motorists to switch off their engines while their vehicles were parked and to issue a £20 Fixed Penalty Notices to those who refused to co-operate.

Emissions from stationary vehicles were a contributor to overall levels of air pollution and caused discomfort to people in the immediate vicinity, particularly where they occurred in sensitive areas (e.g. outside homes, schools, shops and offices). High levels of localised pollution could also trigger the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory diseases in vulnerable people.

Details of exceptions, penalties to be paid and proposed publicity were set out in the report.

Resolved – (a) That the powers contained in The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emission) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 and associated legislation / guidance be adopted, and (b) that maximum publicity be sought via Direct, the council website, local media, local vehicle and petrol sales outlets.