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Air quality ‘on the agenda’ for Cheshire East Council

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Cheshire East Council’s environment and regeneration overview and scrutiny committee is to discuss papers relating to air quality at their next meeting.

The timing is significant, as it comes amid ongoing questions relating to an air quality testing tube in Macclesfield which has been at the centre of controversy surrounding recent planning applications (read more, here).

Documents due to be discussed by the committee include the council’s local air quality strategy, air quality action plan and the low-emissions strategy. 

The meeting – which is open to the public – is being held at 2pm at Macclesfield Town Hall on Monday 17th September 2018.

Sean Hannaby, Cheshire East Council’s director of planning and environment, said: “This is a positive step forward for the council to tackle air quality management within the borough and develop a set of strategic policies and actions to focus on those areas where intervention is required.

“While Cheshire East generally has air good air quality, we can always take action to improve it and these papers set out how we will do this over the next five years.

“Whilst some measures will help to improve the whole of the borough, 17 areas will see additional actions, as they have been identified as air quality management areas (AQMA).

“AQMAs are areas where the levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed the air quality objectives under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. On assessment, the main contributor to poor air quality in Cheshire East is traffic, with diesel vans and cars a main pollutant. 

“Where air quality is poor, it affects everyone. It can have long term impacts on health, with a disproportionate impact on the young and old people. Action to improve air quality and reduce emissions in Cheshire East is welcomed.”

The draft documents outline how Cheshire East Council will work to improve the air quality across the borough through a range of activity, including:

• Planning

• Traffic management

• Encouraging alternative travel

• Construction

• Low emission transportation

• Education

• Public awareness

Some areas could see vehicle weight restrictions imposed – such as banning HGVs on certain roads, 20mph speed limits or signs encouraging drivers to switch off their engines when idle.

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