Agenda item

Air Quality Action Plan

To receive a presentation on the Air Quality Action Plan.


Ned Johnson, Principal Officer for Health, Safety & Pollution, gave an update on some of the key points in the Air Quality Action Plan.


In response, members commented as follows:


1. Cllr Laban queried why the Council had not challenged the Mayor of London over the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone which she described; came with a cost of £250m, would hurt the poorest residents in the borough and would have a negligible impact on air quality. Cllr Laban argued the Council should instead invest in schemes like zero emission bus routes. Cllr Jewell responded that the statistics suggest the ULEZ expansion will have the desired impact on air quality, that the Council had engaged with and asked questions of the Mayor of London regarding the scheme, and that they had not opposed it because it fits with the Council’s environmental objectives.

2. Cllr Laban reiterated her concerns regarding the ULEZ expansion before moving on to question the Council’s approach on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, which forced more cars onto already polluted roads. Officers replied that the objective of LTNs was to direct traffic out of residential streets and onto roads that were designed to deal with a greater volume of vehicles, in turn encouraging people to switch the modes of transport they choose to take, which is what they were seeing happen.

3. Cllr Alexandrou highlighted the increases in traffic on several roads, before moving on to query if the Council would hold another anti-idling campaign; and enquired if air quality could be measured just outside of LTNs, on busy roads and outside schools. Officers responded that the anti-idling campaign for London had ended last year but the Council were keen to continue it in the borough; in particular, they were keen for this to partner its engagement with schools, as that is where it had been most effective. They explained the monitoring of air quality could take place in more specific locations but that without previous comparisons the data would not be as useful.

4. Cllr Stevens asked about the green wall outside Bowes School, and whether something similar could be adopted along the A10 and A406. Officers replied that the ivy wall outside Bowes School, which had been attached with nitrogen dioxide analysers, had resulted in a 22% reduction in emissions. However, they expressed that green walls would not work everywhere, that they required a lot of maintenance, and that the A406 was only part controlled by Enfield, thus was a difficult site to do much with.

5. Cllr Stevens enquired what contribution the waste incinerator was having, to which Officers expressed they did not have these figures to hand.

6. Cllr Alexandrou asked how the Council were protecting poorer residents in the borough from the incinerator’s emissions. Officers responded that the facility was one of the cleanest in Europe, with strict environmental regulations attached to its operations, which it would more than meet. They asked that members be careful with the language they use to describe the facility, so as to not cause undue concern where none need exist, and confirmed that general community funding was available to a number of eligible residents.

7. At the discretion of the Chair, members of the public asked questions about the monitoring of emissions in the Borough and Officers present responded to them accordingly.

8. Cllr Laban asked why some of the borough’s environmental infrastructure/ greenbelts, such as farmland and golf courses, were being considered as areas to build new developments on. Cllr Jewell replied that the Council was doing lots of work on its environmental infrastructure including: planting trees, creating forests, introducing beavers, building wetland areas, implementing Quieter Neighbourhoods, and developing public transport etc. He explained that some areas of land, like Vicarage Farm were being reviewed as potential areas of development but that nothing had been decided or moved forward with. Officers added that there was a balance of tensions between the Council’s various different objectives; and that trade-offs, like housing and the environment existed, with the Council having to consider how to obtain the best overall outcomes for residents.

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