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Agenda item

Review of Air Quality Management Area and Low Emissions Strategy


The Mid-Kent Environmental Protection Team Leader presented the review of the Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and the Low Emissions Strategy to the Committee.


It was noted that:


·  The Low Emissions Strategy demonstrated that Maidstone Borough Council was committed to improving air quality with the Borough.


·  The changes to the AQMA would enable the Council to focus resources on the areas with genuinely poor air quality.


·  There were 32 individual actions in the Action Plan that accompanied the Low Emissions Strategy and were categorised into the following themes: transport, planning, procurement, property and carbon management, and public health. The actions were numbered under each theme according to the greatest potential impact on air quality, with the first number having the greatest impact.


·  The proposed Low Emissions Strategy, its associated Action Plan and the revision of the AQMA were all subject to specific consultation. The public consultation ran for 8 weeks and included direct contact with Councillors and Parish Councillors, as well as with statutory consultees and special interest groups.


·  Progress on the Action Plan would be reviewed and reported to the Committee annually.


In response to questions from the Committee the Mid-Kent Environmental Protection Team Leader replied that:


·  The Council could only impose conditions on taxi licenses that were registered in the Borough. However, Officers could look into the introduction of a low emission zone or a clean air zone in the town centre. The Committee then suggested that One Maidstone could be approached to explore opportunities such as their Business Improvement District bid to promote clean air in the Borough and to investigate possible funding for the aforementioned zones.


·  The NOx tubes were reviewed regularly and an annual screening report had been sent to DEFRA which complimented the Council on the movement of the tubes.


·  Officers would add an action into the Action Plan to inform parents not to leave their cars idle outside schools through the use of a banner campaign.


The Strategic Planning Manager informed the Committee that he did not anticipate the action in the ‘Planning 1’ theme taking 3-5 years, but instead two years.


The Committee discussed the continuous monitoring station which used to be located on the gyratory system. It was noted that there had been difficulty in finding a suitable location for the continuous monitoring station since the gyratory system had been improved. Therefore, the Committee requested that a report be brought back at the earliest opportunity to set out an appropriate alternative to monitor air quality in the Borough.


It was noted that Councillor de Wiggondene-Sheppard arrived at 6.53 p.m. during consideration of this item.




  1. That the Low Emissions Strategy be adopted.


  1. That the associated Action Plan be adopted, subject to the following amendments being made:


  1. An addition of an action to inform parents not to leave their cars idle outside schools using a banner campaign;


  1. To cooperate with One Maidstone to explore opportunities such as their Business Improvement District bid to promote clean air in the Borough; and


  1. An amendment to the timescale of the ‘Planning 1’ theme to 2 years (found on page 50 of the agenda).


  1. That the revised Air Quality Management Area included at Appendix 2 be approved.


Voting: Unanimous


Note: Councillor English left the meeting at 7.25 p.m. before the voting on this item, but returned before consideration of the next item. Therefore, Councillor English did not vote on this item although he was entitled to do so.


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