Air quality at two Chichester hotspots showing signs of improvement

Air quality in parts of Chichester is showing ‘significant’ signs of improvement, a district council scrutiny committee has been told.

During a meeting on Tuesday (March 9), councillors received a report from environmental protection manager Simon Ballard, who said the latest Air Quality Action Plan highlighted improvements in two areas in particular.

The plan, which is due to go out to public consultation in May, recommends that the Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) in Orchard Street and at the A27 Stockbridge roundabout be ‘undeclared’ as the nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen.

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Mr Ballard said: “Both sets of data really accord quite strongly and suggest that air quality in Chichester district is on a significant trend of improvement.

Stockbridge roundabout

“It predicts largely that, by 2025, we are likely to be compliant with the air quality objectives as they currently are.

“Of course, the government might meddle with them in the intervening periods.”

Air Quality Action Plans are legally required when an AQMA – an area where the air quality is not good enough – has been declared.

The latest plan is the district’s third.

Orchard Street, Chichester

Covering Chichester and Midhurst, its aim is to lay out how the council will work to improve air quality.

Previous plans, in 2008 and 2015, have led to schemes being introduced such as the Co-Wheels car club, doubling the number of bike racks in the city centre and delivering policy for the integration of electric vehicles in the council fleet.

Mr Ballard told the meeting that the AQMA in Rumbolds Hill was ‘borderline compliant with the relevant standard’, while the one in St Pancras, Chichester ‘remains non compliant’.

The action plan contains a number of key priorities for improving air quality across the district.

They include:

The continued development of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan

Bike hire schemes and secure bike parking

Improving emissions standards for Taxi Licensing Standards

Reviewing the on-street parking arrangements in Midhurst.

A number of suggestions from councillors will also be included, such as the use of green walls and the provision of smoke control areas.

The committee agreed to recommend to the cabinet that the draft action plan be put out to public consultation from May 17 to June 28.

Karen Dunn , Local Democracy Reporting Service