Local planning decisions have significant potential to affect local air quality in many ways including:
Increased vehicle emissions from additional vehicle trips associated with the development and the creation of traffic flow impacts
Location and design of industrial emissions sources
Location of residential premises
The National Planning Policy Framework requires developers to take into account local authority air quality needs and low emission strategies. Whilst planning policy cannot solve immediate air quality issues it clearly has a role to play so that any likely development scheme impacts are reasonably mitigated and future scheme occupants are able to make green travel choices. The West Midlands local authorities led by Dudley Council have produced as part of the Low Emissions Towns and Cities Project, the Good Practice Air Quality Guidance which sets out a simplified approach to dealing with air quality within the planning system. The document can be accessed via the link below:
The guidance seeks to minimise road transport emissions associated with development and to counter the cumulative impacts from the aggregation of incremental emissions arising from each development scheme. The document provides a classification scheme for development and lists mitigation measures which should be associated with each class of development.
Details on the standards for air quality can be found using the link below:
Dudley Council have recently set up an air quality steering group comprising planning, transport and air quality officers; the group have been tasked with developing effective policies that will integrate local air quality issues into land use and transport planning. They will meet on a regular basis to discuss how these policies can be amended and applied to resolve problematic situations and improve air quality or minimise receptor exposure