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Agenda item

Air Quality

Air Quality

Elizabeth Bates will give an update on the results of Nunnery Lane air quality management investigations.


4. Air Quality


Elizabeth Bates will give an update on the air quality management actions.




4.1       There are several reasons why the air quality should be monitored. 1 in 5 people in the UK are at risk from the effects of the pollution. Most at risk are young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those already suffering from heart and lung diseases. Environment Act 1995 requires all local authorities to ‘review and assess’ air quality and to declare air quality management areas where health based objectives are not being met.

4.2       Traffic is the main source of pollution in York. The main vehicle pollutants are nitrogen dioxide and fine particles (PM10) - these are the pollutants currently monitored in York. Several years of sulphur dioxide monitoring did not indicate any issues with this pollutant. Currently operate 3 real time PM10 analysers and 8 real time nitrogen dioxide analysers. There are also 325 nitrogen dioxide diffusion tube sites which give monthly average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

4.3       There are 2 monitoring stations in Micklegate Ward. Real time monitoring on Holgate Road monitors PM10 and No2. Diffusion tube on Nunnery Lane monitors No2. Holgate Road appears to have improved in recent years. Nunnery Lane has remained fairly stable with slight increase in most recent years. Both sites currently meeting health based objective level at point of monitoring.

4.4       Real time monitoring results short term Nitrogen Dioxide objective. The 1 hour mean objective for nitrogen dioxide is 200ug/m3. 18 exceedances of this value are allowed per year. Between 2007 and 2009 there have been no breaches of this objective at any of the real time monitoring sites. Only the long term objective is currently of concern in York

4.5       Real time monitoring results short term particulate PM10 objective. The 24 hour mean objective for PM10 is 50ug/m3. 35 exceedances of this value are allowed per year.

4.6       Based on the measures of NO2 concentration at 36 diffusion tube sites in Micklegate shows that air quality has deteriorated since 2006.

4.7            Exceedances of the 40µg/m3 objective only have to be reported and acted upon if they occur at ‘relevant locations’. Relevant locations are places where members of the public are regularly exposed for 1 hour or more. In 2009, 22 of the diffusion tubes in Micklegate Ward exceeded 40ug/m3 but only 8 were in relevant locations. The main areas of concern are Nunnery Lane, Prices Lane, Bishopthorpe Road, Holgate Road and Blossom Street – all these areas are within the current AQMA.

4.8       Main approach to tackling poor air quality in York has been to encourage modal shift. This alone is not enough to solve the air quality issues.

A Low Emission Strategy is currently being prepared to encourage the uptake of low emission fuels and technologies within the remaining vehicle fleet and to minimise the impact of future development.


Residents were given the opportunity to ask questions.


Q-        Would you be able to create a low emission zone, where high emission vehicles would be not allowed?

A-        We can look into that, but at the moment we have no authority to enforce it.


Q-        You have mentioned that new diesel engines have higher emission of NO2, does that mean that Park & Ride buses with their new engines pollute more?

A-        It does not apply to buses, only the new types of car diesel engines seems to have higher NO2 emission.


Q-        Would it help if the drivers were switching their engines off when they park on the street, tour buses very often have their engines running while stationary.

A-        There is a legislation which allows the uniformed officer to enforce the driver to turn the engine off.


Q-        Would we be able to introduce buses with hybrid propulsion?

A-        They have been trialled in Leeds, although they are expensive we hope to get them in York in the future.


Q-        What about motor boats on the River Ouse and diesel powered trains, how do they affect the air quality?

A-        We have done assessment in the past and came to conclusion that the pollution caused by motor boats is insignificant. Diesel powered trains on the other hand causes high pollution and that is something we are looking into.


Q-        Would the vehicles count help with identifying the sources of air pollution?

A-        We have been running detailed vehicles counts and gathering the data about the cars age, engine type and their impact on the air quality.


Q-        Do you monitor the air quality at the train station?

A-        We do monitor the outdoor locations only and as a result  not monitoring the train station because it is classed as a covered area.


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