Ebikes and electric cars part of air quality plan for Chichester district

The use of ebikes by council staff, more electric charging points and the promotion car clubs are just some of the actions proposed by Chichester District Council’s revised Air Quality Action Plan.

Chichester Cathedral from Oaklands Park
Chichester Cathedral from Oaklands Park

The updated plan, which goes out to consultation next week (May 17), lays out proposals to improve air quality in the district.

Just some ideas in the plan include continuing to replace council cars and large good vehicles with electric versions, working with West Sussex County Council to make more electric charging points available to the public, and encouraging green travel among local authority staff. This could even see the introduction of a small fleet of ebikes for use by council employees, if funding is secured.

There are also plans to review on-street parking in Midhurst, the possible delivery of ‘anti-idling’ campaigns and even a bike hire scheme.

The two mini roundabouts between St Pancras and Westhampnett Road.

Councillor Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment at Chichester District Council, said: “There are many factors that contribute to the quality of the air we breathe, but as a council we are committed to doing all that we reasonably can to make our area a cleaner, safer and healthier place.

“The Chichester district is a beautiful place to live, work and visit and we are fortunate that our air quality is generally very good. However, there are a small number of places that are adversely affected by air pollution and we are working to help tackle this issue through a number of schemes and projects associated with our Air Quality Action Plan.

“When an area is identified as having poor air quality (i.e. it doesn’t meet the National Air Quality Standards), it is declared as an ‘Air Quality Management Area’. For each of these areas, a plan must be put in place setting out a number of different actions that can be taken to improve air quality in this area — this is called an Air Quality Action Plan. Since the introduction of our first plan in 2008, each of our five-years plans has been successful in introducing schemes that have had a positive impact on air quality in the district.”

The district has four Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) – areas where levels of nitrogen dioxide need to be reduced – but the council said two of these could be ‘undeclared’ (Orchard Street and Stockbridge A27 roundabout) because of improvements in air quality.

Rumbolds Hill in Midhurst is currently borderline compliant with the relevant standard, but St Pancras in Chichester remains non-compliant, the council said.

The council is set to ‘maintain a watching brief’ on these areas, as well as The Hornet, Whyke A27 roundabout and the Oving Road crossroads.

Cllr Plant added: “It’s now time for the plan to be reviewed and updated. The proposal includes recommendations to continue some of the successful projects from the previous plan, and also identifies new actions that could be taken if additional funding can be secured.

“Because air quality has been steadily improving, it also means that we’re in the fortunate position of being able to recommend that Chichester’s Orchard Street and Stockbridge A27 roundabout no longer need to be considered Air Quality Management Areas. This is also set out in the proposed draft plan.

“We’re really keen to hear people’s views on our suggestions and this consultation is a chance for residents, business owners, organisations and visitors to share their thoughts. I would urge everyone to take part in the survey, which only takes between five and 10 minutes. Your voice matters and the feedback you give us will help us to shape our final plan.”

The consultation will go live on Monday (May 17) and people have their say on the plan by June 28. To find out more, visit: www.chichester.gov.uk/letstalkairquality