The people of Warrington are being asked to share their views on what steps can be taken to further improve air quality in the borough.
Warrington Borough Council is currently revising and updating its Air Quality Action Plan and has launched a consultation to get ideas from the public on what new measures could be put in place.
The current action plan – adopted in 2018 – aims to supports the council’s work to protect Warrington’s environment, enhance the quality of air that we breathe and help improve the health of local people. It is a ‘live’, working document which will evolve over time, through regular reviews and updates.
It contains a number of measures to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels within the main, busy traffic routes leading into and around the town – and where possible to deliver wider improvements across Warrington.
These include some firm, immediate actions, with a focus on sustainable transport, encouraging cleaner fuels and electric vehicles, new cycling and walking links, and linking into other Council policies through the Local Transport Plan and planning and health policies.
The updated plan will, for the first time, include a look at indoor air pollution and impacts on health.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for environment and public protection, Cllr Judith Guthrie, said: “Poor air quality can have a huge impact on people’s lives, and that’s why this is such an important plan for Warrington. We have committed to regularly revising and updating the plan as part of our commitment to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents, now and in the future.
“Cleaner air in Warrington will benefit us all, so I would urge everyone to get involved in this consultation, have your say, and help us shape our action plan. We would especially welcome the views of people who are most impacted by poor air quality, such as those who live near major roads and our more vulnerable residents.”
Air quality is the largest environmental risk to the public’s health. Poor air quality contributes to around 145 premature deaths each year in Warrington, and an estimated 50,000 nationally. People most at risk include those who live near major roads, often in more deprived areas, older people and people with existing medical conditions. Pollution peaks can make these health conditions worse, lead to increased hospital emissions and negatively impact on people’s quality of life.
While the majority of Warrington has good air quality, there are areas close to major roads that slightly exceed the national limit for nitrogen dioxide.
Warrington’s Air Quality Action Plan was developed following a comprehensive investigation by the council in 2016, which saw two areas identified as exceeding national pollution levels and being designated Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA). The action plan focuses primarily on these two areas; the Warrington AQMA – a geographical area in and around the town centre, and the Motorway AQMA. The Council continues to monitor air quality and reports the findings each year in the Annual Status Reports.
The consultation on the updated plan is currently open and will run until the 28 February. People can have their say and get more information by visiting https://www.warrington.gov.uk/air-quality-action-plan-consultation.
At the end of the consultation, all comments received will be reviewed and if necessary the plan will be amended. Depending upon comments received, the finalised action plan is expected to be adopted by April 2021.