Issue - meetings
Upper Stone Street Air Quality Update Report
The Director of Regeneration and Place introduced the report and noted that the Committee had previously considered options to improve air quality in Upper Stone Street in July 2019. In early 2020, a working group of officers from both Kent County Council (KCC) as the highways authority, and the Council was created to explore further enforcement options. Data on the incidents of congestion had been provided that demonstrated an average of four incidents per week, with the second most common cause having been obstruction or lane closure.
Specialist legal advice had been taken which confirmed that whilst a red route was legally possible to install, it would not be the most appropriate option for KCC as a significant level of investment would be required. This would take the form of increased CCTV powers and additional manpower, which would need to be balanced by the likely penalty income to be generated. It was felt that strengthening the existing traffic regulation orders, with collaboration through enforcement to be provided by the Council was the most suitable option. The Council had commissioned a specialist environmental consultancy to discern the benefits of introducing new green infrastructure measures to improve air quality, which was shown in Appendix 1 to the report.
The Parking Services Manager confirmed that double yellow lines do not prevent a vehicle from stopping, loading or unloading, which had contributed to the proposal of introducing loading restrictions.
1. That the following recommendations for implementation be referred to the Maidstone Joint Transportation Board on 14 October 2020:
a. Controls to restrict waiting, loading, and unloading in Upper Stone Street be extended by increasing the current restricted period to apply on all days Monday to Sunday Double Yellow Lines and ‘no waiting at any time’. The waiting restrictions will be supported by a loading restriction to protect the peak traffic periods on all days from 7am to 8pm. The impact will then be monitored for a period of 12-months post implementation and the findings presented to the MJTB, and that if unsuccessful, the Board then be asked to pursue the Red Route;
b. Contraventions can be monitored more closely through the KCC traffic control room, who will install an additional camera/s and will provide direct and real-time communication to the MBC parking enforcement agent. Enforcement officers will then be deployed rapidly to deal with any contravention observed through the issues of Penalty Charge Notices;
c. Some of the RSK Environment Ltd recommendations for green infrastructure enhancements be incorporated into a new scheme agreed with KCC involving the removal of one existing tree, and the planting of six new upright growing trees of native species, which are known to be especially beneficial for air quality;
d. One-way designations for some side streets to Upper Stone Street be explored; and
2. Post-implementation, the committee will review the success of the scheme and consider its extension to include Palace Avenue and Lower Stone Street.