Matthew Mace, Group Manager – Transport Strategy, Leicester City Council will give a presentation on the Air Quality Action Plan adopted by the Council in 2015. The plan outlines the picture of Air Quality and states what the council are doing to improve Air Quality in Leicester through its action plan, which includes the Secretary of State for the Environment’s Direction for the council to achieve compliance with EU nitrogen dioxide objective levels “in the shortest possible time”.
The Board is asked to note the ambitions of the Air quality Action Plan and to consider how Members’ organisations can contribute to its delivery.
The Chair explained that there would be one presentation to include this item, and agenda items 9,10 and 11, and therefore all four items would be considered together.
Stuart Maxwell, City Transport Director delivered a combined presentation which related to the following:
· The Air Quality Action Plan
· Improving Air Quality in the City – Bus Retrofit Technology Project
· Air Quality when walking and cycling
· Sustainable travel – walking and cycling
A copy of this combined presentation is attached to the back of these minutes.
The Chair thanked the City Transport Director for the presentation, commenting that it was very informative. During the ensuing discussion, a number of comments and queries were raised which included the following:
· Mark Wightman, Director of Marketing and Communications, UHL commented that 5% of traffic on UK roads happened as a consequence of the NHS. This linked into the reconfiguration work that the UHL were carrying out, which included work to establish Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to provide health infrastructure closer to home and to prevent people from coming into hospitals unnecessarily. The PCNs would have a direct impact on the amount of traffic on the roads but also make it more convenient for people to receive treatment. Mr Wightman added that issues around air quality was a very important aspect of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and that the Board had an important role to play in its delivery.
· The Chair commented that this was not just about the actions that the Council were taking, but also about the work that other organisations were undertaking to improve air quality. The Chair suggested that they might also bring presentations to the Board.
· Most schools had issues with irresponsible parking outside their premises, and just a small amount of rain resulted in more people driving rather than walking to school. The recent Clean Air Day event proved to be very successful and it was important to try to encourage people to think about their behaviour and use the car a bit less. The Director for Public Health added that many parents thought that they were doing their best for their child by taking them to school by car, but in reality, they were doing the opposite.
· The majority of people who worked in the City, also lived in the City and had a small footprint. 33% of people who came into the City in the working day used buses and by providing more dedicated bus lanes, improving bus reliability and by providing more cycle lanes, air quality could be significantly improved.
· A Member said that he believed prevention was better than cure and that nationally people didn’t exercise enough. There were many parks and gyms in the City and people could be guided as to how to use them. There was also a very good network of sports centres.
· It was acknowledged that behavioural change was needed, and it was suggested that it would be useful to have a common approach with partners working together to achieve this.
· A concern was raised that by moving some of the services from the Leicester General Hospital (LGH) to the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) , there would be more traffic which would increase air pollution in an area that was already congested.
Mr Wightman responded that the LRI was the Trust’s ‘hottest’ site in terms of outpatients whether people attended by car or ambulance and they had a target to reduce the number of outpatients by 30% over five years. They also wished to move some of the services to a treatment centre at the Glenfield Hospital to improve the model of care. This would, as an extra benefit, reduce congestion in the City.
· A Member suggested that a few key markers were needed so that the success of the Action Plan could be measured.
· It was noted that the Council had declared a climate emergency and a Member commented that air quality was a local and national priority. The Board heard that the Council stood alongside Climate Earth who were pressing the Council and the Government to clean up the air. Plans included the Targeted Diesel Scrappage Scheme for those people who could not afford an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle. Board Members were urged to think about what they were doing with their own fleets or strategies to improve air quality.
· The Chair thanked everyone for a stimulating discussion and moved that a presentation should be bought back to the Board in six months’ time. This would be led by the Council but would have contributions from the partners. Members agreed to this approach.
that a further presentation be brought back to the Board in six months’ time, which would be led by the Council but include contributions from Board Members.