AIR QUALITY - THE INVISIBLE KILLER

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Air Quality is the single most important issue facing communities, not just because of health, but because of the implications for untrammeled development. So whilst there is a need for housing, and the economic boost from development, it needs to be carefully planned to ensure it does not impact on the worsening Air Quality in our communities. 

Tonbridge & Malling's Local Development Framework contains the below policy, but I don't think they realised how important it was soon to become.

 

6 Air Quality Planning Policies (extract)Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council produced a Local Development Framework in July 2009, which was formally adopted on April 20 2010. The Air Quality Policies are detailed in the Managing Development and the Environment Development Plan

Document (MDE DPD): Policy SQ4:

Development will only be permitted where all of the following criteria are met:

 �� the proposed use does not result in a significant deterioration of the air quality of the area, either individually or cumulatively with other proposals or existing

uses in the vicinity;

 �� proposals would not result in the circumstances that would lead to the creation

of a new Air Quality Management Area;

 �� proximity to existing potentially air polluting uses will not have a harmful effect

on the proposed use; and

 �� there is no impact on the air quality of internationally, nationally and locally designated sites of nature conservation interest or appropriate mitigation is

proposed to alleviate any such impact.

..

 

 

The reason this is so significant is that it appears that an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) can require TMBC to seek to mitigate pollution , either by blocking development that could increase pollution, or to implement measures that decrease the traffic that causes the pollution.Borough Green Parish Council were advised that measurements of Air Quality taken near the Red Lion in 2009 were at or exceeded EU limits if averaged over a year. However, TMBC decided that the AQ impact of Isles Quarry Housing.would be "infinitesmal", so dismissed the issue.

 

 

BGPC then tabled the below questions at the Parish Partnership Panel meeting on 1st March 2012: [question tabled]

What is the current position on Air Quality in the Borough, and in view of increasing traffic will that position be reviewed ?

  1. Is there any likelihood of  areas exceeding limits and becoming AQMA’s
  2. Under the Localism Bill, fines for non-compliance with AQ limits devolve on the Local Authority. What financial impact will this have on T&M, and will there be a need to revisit the LDF where new development may push Air Quality above the prescribed limits.

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We were given a detailed response from Officers and Members minuted here  It was announced that the whole Borough Green triangle of Sevenoaks Rd, Western Rd and the High St should be designated an AQMA within three months.

 

Later in 2012 TMBC published this assessment , leading to the Air Quality Order,

 

However in the new Draft Local Plan, TMBC are trying to "water down" Air Quality rules, because you clearly cannot build 13,700 houses without increasin pollution, so we are pressing hard with this exchange of questions

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