HIGH STREET BOTLEY AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT AREA ACTION PLAN 2012 - 2017 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Eastleigh Borough Council, Environmental Health has prepared this report as part of its duties under the Environment Act 1995. Monitoring of levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide has shown that the annual mean objective, set by DEFRA, would not be met by its target date of the end of 2010 in the area of the High Street, Botley due to traffic emissions. The report sets out information on the types of vehicles using the High Street within the declared Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and the contribution these make before moving on to listing the Actions to improve the air quality, and giving further details about their impacts including non air quality impacts such as noise. The Actions are primarily transport based and include workplace and school travel planning, vehicle emission testing, improving public transport and increasing public awareness of the air pollution problems facing this AQMA. The Council consulted on a draft version of this Action Plan between February 2011 and November 2011. Consultees included other Council Departments, Councillors, members of the Public, local businesses and other interested parties. INTRODUCTION Background to the Local Air Quality Management Process Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC) Environmental Health Service has responsibility for implementing the air quality requirements of the Environment Act 1995. As part of this responsibility the Environmental Health Service undertakes monitoring of air quality within the Borough and regularly produces reports on this data, (available on the Eastleigh Borough Council website). The Environment Act 1995 Part IV requires Local Authorities to carry out a ‘Review and Assessment’ of local air quality. This includes monitoring and modelling of air quality in the local area against objectives and target dates for seven pollutants set out in the Air Quality Regulations 2000. These seven pollutants are nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and 1,3-butadiene. If it is likely that any of the objectives will not be met by the target date an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ (AQMA) must be declared and a ‘five year Action Plan’ to improve air quality must then be prepared. Review and Assessment To date Eastleigh Borough Council has completed the first, second and third ‘rounds’ of Review and Assessment and is currently working it’s way through the fourth round. The first round was completed in 2000, the second in 2005 and the third in 2010. This involved assessing each of the seven pollutants to determine whether the objectives were likely to be met by their target dates. The conclusion of the first round was that all of the objectives for all pollutants would be met by their target dates. Therefore no Air Quality Management Areas were required. The first stage of the second round of Review and Assessment was completed in July 2007; this was known as an Updating and Screening Assessment (USA). The USA included new monitoring and simple modelling data gathered since the completion of the first round. Again this data was used to determine whether the objectives for each of the seven pollutants would be met. The USA concluded that further work would be required to determine whether the nitrogen dioxide annual mean objective would be met in certain areas. A Detailed Assessment was completed in September 2010. This assessment focused on certain areas of the Borough where the nitrogen dioxide annual mean objective was likely to be exceeded. Complex modelling and monitoring data was used in order to make this assessment and it was determined that it was likely that the objective for Nitrogen Dioxide would not be met in The High Street, Botley. We were therefore required by DEFRA to declare an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ (AQMA) to cover the area of the High Street from its junction with Winchester Road to the Woodhouse Lane roundabout. The Eastleigh Borough Council Area Eastleigh Borough Council’s administrative area stretches from Chandlers Ford in the north of the Borough to Hamble-Le-Rice in the south of the Borough. It also includes Bishopstoke, Fair Oak, West End, Hedge End, Botley, Bursledon and Netley, with the main town and administrative centre being Eastleigh. The Borough of Eastleigh lies to the north and east of Southampton, and has borders with Southampton City Council, Winchester City Council, Test Valley Borough Council and Fareham Borough Council. Background to the Air Quality Problems There are two major motorways which pass through the Borough and meet in Eastleigh. The motorways have a major impact on the traffic flows in the Borough. The presence of the motorways along with the close proximity of Southampton, and its docks, and Portsmouth (with ferry services to the continent) means that many businesses are attracted to Eastleigh. Specifically, the High Street in Botley is used as a means of avoiding problems that occur on the motorways and is used by a higher than would be expected number of HGV’s. The road itself is narrow in parts, which means there is poor dispersal of air pollution. There are several pedestrian crossings which means that the traffic flow is disrupted leading to queuing traffic which in turn leads increased car emissions. Figure 1 : High Street, Botley and road links Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Eastleigh Borough Council LA077860 (2006) The next stage in the LAQM process was to carry out a ‘Further Detailed Assessment’ of air quality within the AQMA. The Detailed Assessment includes modelling work and supplements the information already held by the Council on air quality within the AQMA and includes source apportionment to enable the Council to establish the main source of the exceedence in order to better target resources during the action planning process. Detailed Assessment Modelling The modelled contour plots for the area, around the High Street in Botley are presented in Figure 2. The plot shows that there is an area of exceedence of the target level around the junction with Winchester Street and also approximately 100 metres west on the High Street, which is due to queuing traffic at the pedestrian crossing. This shows that there is potential for exceedence at Number 1-2 High Street, east of the junction and for many properties located on the south side of the road, which are very close to the kerbside, meaning there is little opportunity for the dispersal of the air pollution. Figure 2. Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Eastleigh Borough Council LA077860 (2006) The map (figure 3) shows the boundaries of the Air Quality Management Area. It stretches from the Woodhouse Lane roundabout to just east of the Winchester Road junction with the High Street, and 10 metres either side of the centre of the road. Figure 3 : The High Street, Botley Air Quality Management Area Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Eastleigh Borough Council LA077860 (2006) Air Quality Action Plan The Action Planning stage is the most important part of the air quality management process and provides the Council with the opportunity to implement actions which can improve air quality. Most actions will be carried out locally, either by Eastleigh Borough Council or Hampshire County Council (HCC), the High Street is a HCC controlled road and therefore any works required must be approved or implemented by them. Aims of the Air Quality Action Plan The principle aim of the Action Plan is to establish local measures to improve air quality in and around the AQMA. These measures are considered on the grounds of their air quality/pollution improvement, impacts on noise, climate change etc, cost effectiveness and feasibility. Other aims include: To calculate how much each source (cars, HDV’s, other) contributes to the exceedence of the nitrogen dioxide annual mean objective (known as source apportionment). Establish the improvements required in order to meet the objective. Quantify the impacts of each of the measures both in terms of air quality and other impacts such as noise. Strategies, Policies and Guidance. Eastleigh Borough Council Corporate Strategy The Councils ‘Corporate Strategy’ sets out the aims and key priorities for the Borough and the actions to achieve them. The strategy is driven by the following purpose “Our Purpose: The Council exists to improve the quality of life for all local people” As part of the strategy one of the key priorities for the Council is the environment and on this subject the strategy states: “We will protect and improve the Borough for the benefit of local people, now and in the future.” This Air Quality Action Plan and other air quality work carried out by the Council therefore helps towards meeting the environment priority and the strategy as a whole. One of the Councils ‘Strategic Priorities’ is “Transportation: promoting more sustainable transport systems, and minimising the adverse effects of vehicles.” Planning Policy and the EBC Local Plan The Council currently has a policy on air quality assessments as part of the Local Plan 2001-2011. The policy states: Local Air Quality Management The Council has an on-going duty to review and assess local air quality. Where a statutory air quality objective is likely to be exceeded then an Air Quality Management Area must be declared and an action plan developed to improve air quality. Within the Borough the main source of poor air quality is road traffic. Air quality considerations will be taken into account in any of the following cases: Where the development is proposed within , or adjacent to, an AQMA Where the development or the associated traffic, could result in the designation of an AQMA Where the granting of planning permission would conflict with, or render unworkable, elements of any local air quality action plan or strategy, and; Where it is expected that the development may have a substantial impact on the local air quality or future occupiers of the development may be subject to unacceptable air quality then the Council may require a suitable air quality impact assessment to be carried out prior to consideration of the application. Hampshire Local Transport Plan 2011-2031 (LTP3) This is written in two parts: A 20-year Strategy, which sets out a long-term vision for how the transport network of Hampshire will be developed over the next 20 years, and three-year Implementation Plan setting out planned expenditure on transport over the period April 2011 to March 2014. The Plan builds on the successes of previous local transport plans and look to make improvements to the transport system which will benefit people living and working in Hampshire. It has been produced following extensive consultation with the public and our strategic partners. The long term strategy is broken down to look at local area strategies and the policy for South Hampshire is contained within Chapter 7: Policy E. The following is an extract from the Hampshire County Council website explaining the objectives of the LTP3: ‘The main objectives of the LTP3 are: To increase accessibility To promote safety To reduce the impact and effect of congestion To widen travel choice To improve air quality To support wider quality of life objectives To encourage value for money and efficient asset management’ These objectives are to be achieved by a balanced strategy that seeks to meet all the needs of all residents. The strategy includes measures to tackle existing and future problems. It aims to improve all modes of transport to provide a wider choice for the public. It balances the need to protect the environment with the need for mobility.’ The long term strategy of the LTP3 is to: Reduce the number of journeys made and the average length of journeys, where this does not have disproportionate effects on quality of life or the economy Manage the existing transport networks effectively, to make the best use of existing capacity Invest in additional capacity, where there is shown to be essential Overall emphasis will be given to investing in public transport networks, particularly those catering for shorter journeys. The LTP3 is available at: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/transport/local-transportplan.htm Air Pollution: Traffic Emissions and Nitrogen Dioxide Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) are found naturally in the atmosphere; natural sources include lightning, forest fires, bacterial activity in the soil and plant metabolism. Non-natural sources are produced through the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen during combustion processes. The majority of nonnatural sources arise from road vehicle emissions (around 1 million tonnes per annum – EPAQS, 1996), and power stations as well as other combustion sources e.g. aircraft, trains. In Eastleigh Borough the main source of nitrogen dioxide is from road vehicles. The chemistry of air pollution is complex. The following is a simplified description of the process of the formation of nitrogen dioxide (NO 2). Nitric oxide (NO) is the gas emitted to the atmosphere by the above sources. In the presence of oxygen (O) and under the right conditions nitric oxide and oxygen combine to form nitrogen dioxide. Cold, clear winter days can often lead to ‘inversions’. Inversions occur when a layer (or lid) of cold air is trapped by warmer air above, this tends to occur after clear cloudless nights when there is an early morning frost. Pollutants are then trapped and can build up to high levels and smog may also occur. Inversions are a fairly common occurrence in Eastleigh Borough due to its location in a basin and unusually high levels of nitrogen dioxide can occasionally be monitored on these cold, clear winter days. Health Effects of Nitrogen Dioxide The Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards (EPAQS) have studied the effects of nitrogen dioxide on human health and have raised concerns about exposure to nitrogen dioxide at lower levels, such as those found in towns and cities. It is thought that this type of exposure may have acute short-term and chronic long-term effects on health. Sensitive individuals such as those suffering heart and lung diseases, including asthma are likely to be the first to notice the effects of moderate pollution levels. At high levels those who are not sensitive may notice the effects of pollution such as eye irritation. The air quality standards in Figure 2, have been set for nitrogen dioxide, based on evidence of its effect on health: Figure 2: Nitrogen Dioxide Objectives Pollutant Air Quality Objective Concentration Measured as 3 Nitrogen dioxide Annual mean 40g/m 3 (NO2) Hourly mean 200g/m not to be exceeded more than 18 times a year Date to be achieved by 31/12/2010 31/12/2010 Objectives are assessed in areas where there are ‘sensitive receptors’. Sensitive receptors are residential areas, schools, hospitals etc, but do not include workplaces. As described above the annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide may not be met by the target date in a number of areas within the Borough. These are largely residential areas. It is not anticipated that there will be any exceedence of the hourly mean objective. Monitoring of Nitrogen Dioxide The graph presented below shows the trends in nitrogen dioxide levels within the High Street AQMA from 2008 to 2010. As can be seen from the graph, levels of nitrogen dioxide on the High Street have been continually above the objective (40ug/m3) over this time. The Air Quality Actions As previously stated in the introduction to this Action Plan the principal aim is: “To establish local measures to improve air quality in the Air Quality Management Area. These measures will be considered on the grounds of cost effectiveness and feasibility.” The main measures of the Action Plan are to: Provide information and awareness Consideration of alternative means of transport Road network management Management of road traffic emissions Planning considerations To better understand and help form the action plan, a public consultation took place in 2011. A leaflet was distributed to properties in and around the surrounding area of the AQMA. The consultation outlined the main air quality problems and proposed measures aimed at addressing these and sought public opinions on them and others that they may be able to suggest. We received a total of 63 responses to this and a summary of them is given as follows. Number in support of 24 21 17 14 13 13 12 9 8 8 7 4 4 4 3 2 2 Measure / action Botley by-pass Alternative HGV route/ban Detailed traffic analysis Speed reduction / monitor Improve pedestrian route Work with local businesses HGV weight restriction AQ monitoring Improve public transport Improve traffic flow Improve cycle network School travel planning HGV ‘L’ training Re-site Vehicle testing Deal with school parking Daily deliveries to shops Traffic calming measures Likely AQ impact Large Large N/A Small Small Small Medium N/A Small Medium Small Medium Medium Medium Small Small Overall, the results of the consultation process indicated general support for the majority of the proposed action plan measures, with the highest percentage of agreement being for a Botley By-Pass. It was also noted that there was an overall concern about the number of HGV’s moving through the High Street. The ‘Air Quality Actions’ are presented over the following pages. The majority of actions suggested will not have a major impact on air quality in their own right, as shown in the table above, but will contribute towards an overall improvement. Many of these ‘softer’ actions are based on the Department for Transport ‘Smarter Choices’. Most of the actions are transport based and many are projects which the Council already has underway or was in the planning stages of. Others are more aspirational, but by being included in the Action Plan can be elevated to a level where they will hopefully be implemented in the future. There are no problems related to industrial emissions and therefore the actions focus on improving transport infrastructure and encouraging residents and businesses to make use of the excellent public transport facilities, car share, walk or cycle. The actions are presented in the form of a table with some information on the actions following. However, many of the actions will have a fairly small impact in their own right and ranking them is therefore particularly difficult. Actions to Improve Air Quality Action are not ranked in any particular order Action Botley by-pass Alternative HGV route/ban Detailed traffic analysis Speed reduction / monitor Improve pedestrian route Work with local businesses HGV weight restriction Real Time AQ monitoring Improve public transport Improve traffic flow Improve cycle network School travel planning HGV ‘L’ training re-routing Re-site Vehicle testing School travel planning and parking Traffic calming measures Discussion of the Action Plan Measures Further information on the aims of and reasons of the actions is given below. A Botley By-Pass The High Street in Botley is not a road that was designed for either the numbers or types of vehicles that are currently using it. A new by-pass would relieve traffic congestion therefore improving traffic flow and reduce the vehicle numbers using the High Street. It would also potentially reduce travel time and transportation costs for business and commerce. The existing local plan for the area, the Eastleigh Borough Local Plan Review 2001 – 2011, includes a long standing proposal for a Botley bypass. Eastleigh Borough Council is currently preparing their new Local Plan, the Eastleigh Borough Council Local Plan 2011-2029, which includes a proposal for a significant major housing development within the area. This would contribute additional traffic to an already congested route. We are also aware that a neighbouring Authority is reviewing their Local Plan, which may lead to significant development which may also affect this road corridor, including the potential for growth in traffic volumes related to the Whiteley housing proposals. The new Local Plan also carries forward the Botley Bypass proposal. This one measure has the potential to improve air quality to such a degree that it could bring the annual mean of air pollution down below the DEFRA objective. Alternative HGV Route/Ban There is a recognised issue with the amount of HGV movements through the AQMA, having a disproportionate impact on air quality. Any alternative route/restriction/ weight restriction needs to be explored with the County Council and the Highways Agency. The road also has a wide load designation. In addition voluntary agreements could be sought with local businesses to encourage alternative routes away from the AQMA or to restrict their drivers to times away from the peak hours. A 7.5 tonne lorry ban area would aim to balance the importance of goods access to local businesses with the environmental concerns of local residents. Detailed Traffic Analysis A detailed traffic analysis is required to inform of the numbers ant types of vehicles passing through the AQMA. If done correctly and in the right areas it will also give us a picture of where the vehicles are travelling to and from. This will be valuable information for us to help inform and target actions. Speed Reduction By having a more constant lower speed this will aid the traffic flow and in turn aid the amount and dispersal of air pollution. It will also reduce the potential for accidents and injury, especially as the pedestrian route is very narrow in parts. Speed enforcement is a matter for the Police whereas speed restrictions are a matter for the Highways Authority. Improved Pedestrian Route The aim is to improve the pedestrian environment and promote the benefits of walking to encourage more people to walk for short utility journeys and for recreation, and to increase social interaction. The pedestrian routes either side of the High Street and Broad Oak are very narrow in parts and need continual maintenance to ensure there is no encroachment from trees/bushes. The Highways Authority are currently developing plans to improve pedestrian safety on Broad Oak. A successful “park and walk” scheme was introduced in 2010 across the Botley recreation ground in partnership with Botley Parish council. Work with Local Businesses Encourage the use of work travel plans or fleet management plans. The plans can cover a single business or a cluster of them working together. These can help to reduce the traffic impacts of their activities. They look to reduce work related car trips through initiatives such as car sharing, providing pool cars, cycling incentives, cycle parking, showers and changing facilities. Travel plans have been shown to have positive economic impacts for the organisation. Servicing and deliveries to local businesses can cause problems. Traffic congestion, lack of kerbside space, lack of rear servicing and difficulties in manoeuvring can frustrate deliveries. Increase Air Quality Monitoring By continuing to monitor air quality we can better understand the areas that are more affected. The greater the amount of data we can collect then the better this can be used to give improved modelling results for the AQMA. Improve Public Transport Botley is served by four bus companies (Black Velvet, Bluestar, Brijan and First Bus) for travel to local major towns including Eastleigh and Southampton. Increased bus travel can prevent congestion, giving more effective use of road space and help reduce air pollution. The availability of affordable, reliable, convenient and safe public transport services is important if people are to use it as a viable alternative to owning and using a car and encourages greater social interaction. Therefore, although the Council is not a direct provider of services, we should be firmly committed to supporting measures to improve quality, reliability and accessibility. Improve Cycle Network Promotion of cycling has the benefit of lowering car journeys whilst helping the healthiness of the cyclist. The Cycling Strategy is within the Hampshire County Council LTP and is working towards a joined up network of cycle routes. Parts of the northern part of Broad Oak have been identified as new cycle routes. We should also look to increase the provision of secure cycle parking facilities, have advanced cycle stop lines at signalised crossings.The Highway authority are currently developing plans to extend cycle facilities on Broad Oak. School Travel Planning and Safer Routes to School Continue to encourage the already well-established school travel plans to be followed with the use of more sustainable forms of travel and through safer routes for walking and cycling. Benefit parents by reducing their commitment to delivering their children to and from school Benefit children by giving them a degree of independence and an opportunity to take gentle exercise Benefits the local community by reducing traffic and parking congestion outside schools Promotes the health and overall well-being of school children. Fosters more neighbourly interaction and support for the school. HGV Learning Re-routing There is an HGV driver training centre and associated MOT centre within 3 miles of the High Street. Currently lessons in these HGV’s are often taken up/down the High Street. Opportunity to re-route the lessons away from this congested route or to relocate the test centre. Contingency Planning Effective contingency planning to minimise traffic disruption. Work with the HCC and Highways Agency to influence tactical diversion routes in emergencies away from the High Street. Traffic Calming Measures Traffic calming and traffic management schemes help to improve air quality by promoting walking and cycling, by protecting access roads from the through traffic and by providing opportunities for other environmental improvements such as tree planting. Sustainable Development The assessment of planning applications in order to secure improvements in air quality through mitigation with emphasis on sustainable development and through contributions from planning contributions or conditions can in the long term make a step forward in preventing air quality deterioration. Air Quality and Travel Awareness Campaign To raise the awareness of the local air pollution levels and issues, and the environmental, economic and social effects of travelling by foot, bike and public transport. To encourage socially responsible car share/use. Signs to show that you are entering an AQMA. Strategic Measures Improve links with Local Transport Strategy/Area Action Plan. Improve air quality links with Local Planning and Development Framework. Integrate air quality with other Council strategies Overall care must be taken with all of these actions to make sure that they do not lead to social or economic exclusion, that they do not have knock-on effects on local industry or employment, and that they do not simply shift the problem elsewhere. However by a careful combination of a number of these actions, overtime, the overall net ‘cost’ can be minimised; such combinations are also likely to be more effective than simply relying on just one or two actions.