Decision Maker: Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Ranger explained the meaning of his proposal, which was as follows:
DEFRA’s response to UDC’s Air Quality Annual Status report highlights that, “after distance correction, there are now no exceedances of the annual mean objective for Nitrogen Dioxide within the Saffron Walden AQMA, or any results within 10% of objective levels at positions of relevant exposure” and goes on to state that “The recent monitoring results are extremely encouraging, and the Council should maintain the strategy outlined within the Action Plan”. This council welcomes this response and will continue its work to improve further the air quality in our District.
Councillor Ranger said the report showed the Council was doing well, but that the Council was not complacent. Monitoring would continue, and the Council would upgrade the analyser at London Road to a permanent situation, and would upgrade Hill Street. At Hill Street the real-time analyser would not be replaced, but additional equipment would be deployed instead. Councillor Ranger said he was aware of Councillor Hargreaves’ amendment, and invited him to consider withdrawing that amendment in light of the update he had given.
Councillor Rolfe seconded the motion.
Councillor Hargreaves said his amendment was to add wording at the end of the last sentence of the motion, as follows: “and urges the Cabinet to reinstate the council's failed monitoring equipment in order to return the air quality reporting to the more accurate local validation preferred by DEFRA.”
Councillor Hargreaves said it appeared Councillor Ranger was agreeing with his amendment, which should stand.
Officers confirmed the amendment had been uploaded to the meetings page of the website, and circulated to all members by email by the required deadline, and that printed copies were available.
Councillor Fairhurst seconded the amendment.
Councillor Ranger said the difficulty with the amendment was the requirement to reinstate failed equipment, and explained in detail the equipment which would in fact be used, which would satisfy the need to include local bias.
Councillor Gerard said he did not understand why the amendment was not welcomed, as Councillor Ranger had explained the intention.
Councillor Ranger said he would agree to alter the motion by removal of the reference to “reinstatement”, and read out the proposed motion as altered, which would omit the words “reinstate the council’s failed monitoring equipment in order to”.
Councillor Dean said it was problematic that the matter had come to a meeting of the Council when there was a high level of technical detail. There was no governance structure for this type of report. Scrutiny Committee had seen the report but at not looked at the annual report which was published in July. This was the wrong sort of motion to bring to Council and he would abstain.
The Chairman reminded Members they were debating the substantive motion.
Councillor R Freeman said it was important to get the right equipment to tackle air quality monitoring, and to ensure it worked.
Councillor Lees said planning was an important part of air quality. Poor air quality was the largest risk to health in the UK, and caused 40,000 premature deaths each year, affecting the most vulnerable people disproportionately. The historic layout of Saffron Walden contributed to traffic emissions, and she urged the Council to have the correct equipment for the welfare of future generations.
Councillor S Barker said the debate missed the point, as the Council welcomed the report from DEFRA. Officers should be applauded, as the overall picture was an improvement, but the Council had to keep working on monitoring air quality.
Councillor Lodge asked Councillor Ranger whether he was aware of a report commissioned by the Council by air quality experts, Global Ltd.
Councillor Ranger said he was not aware of this report.
Councillor Lodge read an extract from the report, which forecast that there would be hotspots across the district by 2023 where illegal levels of pollution would be reached. The Council was complacent, and whilst he would not oppose the motion, such complacency had to stop. The efforts made so far were sticking plasters, and real action was needed in view of the forthcoming new housing estates which would be too dangerous to implement on this analysis.
Councillor Rolfe said the Council was not complacent. The motion noted what DEFRA had said. There had been detailed explanation of the way in which the equipment would be used. It was important also to be creative and to use initiatives such as walking routes to schools, and cessation of parking in roads, as had been the case with Peaslands Road.
Councillor Lodge said, as a point of order, that parking in Peaslands Road had not stopped.
Councillor Rolfe said the condition had been set as part of development conditions.
Councillor Lodge withdrew his point of order.
Councillor S Barker proposed that the motion now be put.
Councillor Ranger summed up the reasons for his motion, as altered.
The motion being put to the vote, it was carried with one abstention.
DEFRA’s response to UDC’s Air Quality Annual Status report highlights that, “after distance correction, there are now no exceedances of the annual mean objective for Nitrogen Dioxide within the Saffron Walden AQMA, or any results within 10% of objective levels at positions of relevant exposure” and goes on to state that “The recent monitoring results are extremely encouraging, and the Council should maintain the strategy outlined within the Action Plan”. This council welcomes this response and will continue its work to improve further the air quality in our District and urges the Cabinet to return the air quality reporting to the more accurate local validation preferred by DEFRA.
Publication date: 04/12/2018
Date of decision: 04/12/2018
Decided at meeting: 04/12/2018 - Council