Have your say on plans to tackle air pollution in Reading
- Consultation launched on Reading’s Air Quality Action Plan 2024-29
- Reading’s air quality is improving but some areas are still above pollution targets
- Measures in the plan to benefit people’s health, the environment and quality of life
An action plan to tackle poor air quality in Reading between 2024-29 is now out for public consultation.
The Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) outlines the measures the Council proposes to take to improve air quality in the borough with a focus on reducing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter, specifically PM2.5, emissions.
The plan aims to benefit people’s health, the environment and the quality of life for communities by having cleaner air in Reading.
Residents are being given the opportunity to comment on the plan during a six-week public consultation starting on Wednesday 6 December.
Reading’s air quality (nitrogen dioxide) is improving but there are still some locations around the town which are above the UK and World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality targets. The AQAP 2024-29 will target these locations but also aim to improve air quality across the whole borough.
The plan includes strategies to encourage or accelerate the uptake of low or zero emission vehicles, non-diesel vehicles, discourage vehicle use in certain areas where people live or go to school, and encourage the use of public transport and active travel options.
Actions to achieve these aims include:
- The introduction of a borough-wide Smoke Control Area with accompanying awareness campaign
- Air quality planning guidance for construction sites
- Implementation of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy
- A school air quality awareness programme.
Examples of actions taken under the previous AQAP to improve air quality includes:
- Opening of Green Park Station in May 2023 which offers a sustainable travel alternative connecting the Green Park business area, Select Car Leasing Stadium and Green Park Village residents to the Great Western Railway line.
- Expansion of the Southern Bus Rapid Transit corridor offering a sustainable travel option between south Reading and the town centre.
- Provision of the National Cycle Network 422, offering a safer east-west cross-town route to encourage and prioritise active travel.
- Substantial investment in the Reading Buses fleet so it is 100% hybrid, natural gas or Euro 6 diesel engine, making it one of the cleanest in the country.
- Introduction of reduced taxi licensing fees for vehicles which are ultra-low emission or electric, by 25% and 50% respectively.
Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: “We are moving in the right direction with air quality improvements in Reading but there are still locations in the town where levels of air pollution are too high.
“The previous Air Quality Action Plan focused on reducing Nitrogen Oxide emissions in line with national guidance and this plan will continue on that course. However, the new plan will also place considerable emphasis on targeting harmful Particulate Matter, PM2.5, emissions.
“Air pollution is associated with several serious health conditions and particularly affects the most vulnerable in our communities, such as children and older people and those with heart and lung conditions.
“The Council is committed to reducing Reading residents’ exposure to poor air quality to improve their health. We need to continue to work together to achieve this and would appreciate residents' comments on the new Air Quality Action Plan during this consultation period.”
To have your say on the Air Quality Action Plan 2024-29, visit: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/air-quality-action-plan-2024-2029-consultation/.
The consultation ends on: 17 January 2024
Transport and development both have an impact on air quality and there are other related consultations currently taking place in Reading:
- Reading Strategic Transport Plan: https://www.reading.gov.uk/vehicles-roads-and-transport/transport-strategy/reading-transport-strategy-2040/. Ends 7 December.
- Local Plan Partial Update: https://www.reading.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy/new-local-plan/local-plan-partial-update/. Ends 31 January 2024.