Vale of White Horse District Council
As a local authority our responsibilities relating to air quality management come from legislation laid out in the UK Air Quality Strategy.
There are currently three air quality management area’s (AQMA’s) designated within the Vale of White Horse. These are areas where the levels of pollutants in the air have reached those identified by the government as harmful to health and are in breach of what is called the ‘national air quality objectives’.
Air pollution levels have been monitored in Abingdon since 1995 and due to levels of NO2 exceeding the national air quality objectives, an AQMA was declared in 2006.
The air pollution problem in Abingdon is not unlike many others across the country in that it comprises a busy road network and relatively narrow streets which serve to prevent the dispersion of pollutants therefore trapping the pollution at street level.
Air pollution here has also been monitored since 1995. An AQMA was declared in 2008 again as a result of NO2 levels exceeding the national objectives.
The air pollution problem in Botley is attributed to the volume of traffic on the A34. Air pollution levels are high where there are houses close to the A34.
Air pollution monitoring in Marcham commenced in 2009 with an AQMA designated in 2015 due to NO2 exceedences.
The air pollution problem in Marcham is due to the volume of traffic on the A415 which passes through Marcham, congestion caused by the narrowness of the roads and the fact that some houses are very close to the road.
In order to improve air quality both within these areas and in the district as a whole, we have produced an Air Quality Action Plan. This provides the mechanism by which local authorities in collaboration with national agencies and others, state their intentions for bringing about air quality improvements.
Vale of White Horse will produce a developer guidance document in fulfilment of one of the action plan measures. This guidance will aid developers and planners alike in assessing the air quality impacts of a development and any associated mitigation that may be required to help offset the effects of a given development. Ultimately it will aim to achieve sustainable development in the district that achieves the best balance of social, economic and environmental considerations.