PLANS to tackle air pollution and improve air quality were set to be approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet yesterday (Wednesday).

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment said: “The most significant source of pollution that we can influence is caused by vehicle emissions.”

The council’s draft low emission strategy identifies 53 potential improvement measures and the council has committed significant funding to a range of projects to improve air quality.

These include changing preferred transport from cars to public transport, cycling and walking.

Reducing distances driven and emissions from stationary vehicles, chimneys and construction is another way to cut emission.

Councillors also hope to improve vehicle technology to reduce emissions and specifically low emission vehicles.

The Council has committed significant funding to a range of projects to improve air quality, including the creation of a two year dedicated post to implement the strategy’s recommendations.

In addition, a feasibility study commissioned earlier this year has just been completed for the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points across the borough.

The council will introduce wherever possible, incentives for the use of low and zero emission vehicles and alongside education and awareness-raising measures, will also adopt the power to issue penalties when vehicles are allowed to idle unnecessarily.

In 2013 the council was awarded £128,000 to retrofit exhaust abatement equipment to eight buses, bringing them up to the latest Euro emissions standards. 

Further funding of £135,000 was received under the Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF) to upgrade additional Euro II / III buses to Euro VI standards.

In January 2016, the council started a four year programme to introduce 20mph zones to 740km of roads across the borough.

Road safety is the main reason however studies show that 20mph speed restrictions are beneficial in reducing NO2 from diesel engines and particulate matter for both diesel and petrol engines.

They are also effective in reducing particulate matter due to fewer acceleration / deceleration events.

The Council is actively monitoring NO2 and particulate matter at the Chester Bus Interchange, and this is being carried out for at least three years from the date of opening.

Air pollution is increasingly associated with a number of health issues, including heart disease and cancer.

Air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable people in society, children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions.