Air quality and planning
A key principle of LAQM is for local authorities to integrate air quality considerations with other policy areas, such as planning. It is therefore important for Wiltshire to identify how we can best bring air quality considerations into the planning process at the earliest possible stage. This is recognised in the National Planning Policy Framework and Guidance. It is no longer satisfactory to simply demonstrate that a development is no worse than the existing or previous land use on a particular site. The Wiltshire Air Quality Strategy, Action Plan and Wiltshire Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document are key documents in addressing this.
Where developments take place in an AQMA, mitigation measures must be considered as standard practice, particularly in cases where the development is new and does not replace an existing use. This is especially important where the development has provision for a large number of parking spaces, significantly increasing the number of trips, and/or heating plant. In some cases it may be necessary to recommend refusal where a development is so contrary to the objectives of the Air Quality Action Plan and Strategy.
Wiltshire Core Strategy
Wiltshire’s Core Strategy sets out a framework of policies and strategies for future sustainable residential and economic development across the County. Wiltshire’s commitment to air quality is demonstrated by the inclusion of core policy 55 and supported by the Wiltshire Air Quality Strategy 2011 – 2015.
Wiltshire Local Transport Plan 3
The Wiltshire Local Transport Plan 3 (LTP3) contains a number of strategic objectives which have strong links to improving air quality and climate change:
Strategic objective 11: To reduce the level of air pollutant and climate change emissions from transport
LTP3 is supported by four individual strategies. Namely:
- Car parking;
- Public transport; and
- Road safety
Air Quality Assessments
Air quality assessments may be required, even in localities where air quality management areas have not been declared, so developers are advised to use the checklists provided in the appendices in determining the relevance of air quality.
We would recommend you seek advice from the environmental protection team prior to any formal planning application if air quality is likely to be an issue.
The overall outcome of an air quality assessment is to determine whether the development will have a significant impact on air quality or whether the existing air quality environment is unacceptable for the proposed development.
The three main ways a development may have a significant impact are:
- If the development is likely to cause a deterioration in local air quality (i.e., once completed it will increase pollutant concentrations)
- If the development is located in an area of poor air quality (i.e., it will expose future occupiers to unacceptable pollutant concentrations)
- If the demolition/construction phase will have a significant impact on the local environment (e.g., through fugitive dust and exhaust emissions) the London Councils Best Practice Guidance note entitled “The Control of Dust and Emissions from Construction and Demolition” should help reduce emissions from this stage of a development.