Tackling air pollution in Calderdale

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Plans to improve air quality in Calderdale are being discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.

Members will consider the new Calderdale Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan, which aim to address air quality issues around the borough.

Although air pollution levels in Calderdale are generally in line with air quality objectives, the levels of nitrogen dioxide in some areas of the borough exceed annual averages at peak congestion periods. The main cause of this pollution is road traffic, so the Council’s Action Plan is focused on projects that would reduce congestion, improve flow or encourage people travelling to, from and within the borough to use public transport, walk or cycle.

Changing people’s behaviour and encouraging the use of active travel or public transport is a vital part of reducing emissions.  The Council’s Cycling Strategy complements the Low Emissions Strategy as it looks to encourage cycling as alternative to car travel, therefore reducing the number of vehicles on the roads.

Investment in the rail network and improvements in bus travel are also key to the Strategy – making public transport a more attractive option. The development of a new train station at Elland, with funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, offers the opportunity for more residents to choose rail travel instead of driving, easing congestion in this area.

These projects, along with improvements to Calderdale’s road network and measures to support low emission vehicles, all contribute to the delivery of the Low Emission Strategy and Action Plan and would help the Council reduce the impact of vehicle emissions and protect public health and our environment.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Cllr Daniel Sutherland, said:

“The challenge of improving air quality in the borough is not an easy one, but it’s vital that we act now to ensure that we protect the health and well-being of our communities now and in the future.

“There isn’t just one solution to tackling air pollution, it’s reliant on a wide range of  ideas, not only focusing on improving our road network, but also encouraging and improving our public transport offer and the infrastructure for walking and cycling.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Inequalities, Cllr Faisal Shoukat, said:

“It’s important that we raise awareness of the issue of air pollution and the impact it can have on people’s health. Knowing the dangers related to emissions, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions, can help to influence people’s travel behaviour and reduce private or single occupancy car use.

“We need everyone’s help to improve our air quality. Businesses, schools, car drivers and bus companies can all play their part and help us create a low emission future for Calderdale.”

The item will be discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 12 February at Halifax Town Hall, starting at 6pm.

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