Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Air Quality Action Plan

Meeting: 09/09/2020 - Cabinet (Item 60)

60 Air Quality Action Plan pdf icon PDF 172 KB

The Transition Directorhas submitted a report to seek approval of the Draft Air Quality Action Plan for public consultation.

Recommendation: That Cabinet resolves to:

1.    Approve the Air Quality Action Plan for Public Consultation

Additional documents:


The Transition Directorhad submitted a report seeking approval of the Draft Air Quality Action (AQA) Plan for public consultation.

Mai Jarvis, Environmental Quality Team Manager, introduced the report and the draft action plan. She outlined progress in improving air quality and the future actions. The consultation would run for 7 weeks and would use a variety of methods to reach a wide range of respondents. 

Cabinet members asked for inclusion in the supporting text an explanation of the economic impact and costs of poor air quality to emphasise the urgency of improvements.

Members noted that improving indoor air quality, which could also be poor, was not within the scope of the AQA Plan.

Cabinet accepted all the Scrutiny Committee recommendations and asked that these, and coverage of the economic costs, be incorporated into the action plan before publication.


Cabinet resolved to:

1.    Approve for public consultation the Air Quality Action Plan subject to the inclusion of the Scrutiny Committee recommendations and of  the economic costs of poor air quality (as set out in the Cabinet’s discussion); and

2.    Delegate authority to the Transition Director in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Zero carbon Oxford to make the amendments at (1) and any minor textual amendments to the draft Air Quality Action Plan in advance of the public consultation.


Meeting: 01/09/2020 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 32)

32 Air Quality Action Plan pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 09 September, will consider a report on the Air Quality Action Plan. This item provides the Committee with an opportunity to comment on the report and make recommendations to Cabinet if it wishes.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford; and Mai Jarvis, Environmental Quality Team Manager have been invited to attend for this item.


Additional documents:


Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford, introduced the report. The Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) fulfilled a statutory duty. It also provided the Council with an opportunity to demonstrate its desire for a more aspirational approach to the delivery of clean air than was expected by the Government. The need for a robust approach to air pollution was a matter of social justice given the profound impact of poor air quality on everyone, but in particular, on some members of the community including young, elderly and minority groups. The Council already had a good track record of measures to tackle air pollution, working in close partnership with the County Council where necessary and was well placed to address the target for the reduction of air pollution set out in the report. The introduction of a Zero Emission Zone, and “Connecting Oxford” for example, would be critical factors in the achievement of the target.

The Committee welcomed this important report. BAME members of the community were likely to be particularly badly affected by poor air quality and it was suggested that this should be made more explicit.

Central to the AQAP was the objective of achieving a “local annual mean NO2 target of 30 micrograms by 2025”. It was agreed that this should be defined more clearly. While this new target was admirable, sight should not be lost of the current target of 40 micrograms which had yet to be achieved.

The AQAP referred to both NO2 and NOX emissions with targets set in the former but measured in some places by reference to the latter. Some clarification of the distinction and relevance of the two would be helpful.

No sanctions would be available for failure to meet the Council’s self-imposed target, but the Council would continue to press for measures (and funding) to deal with air  pollution from, for example, canal boats burning solid fuel..

There was  concern that at time when the Council was facing significant financial challenge,  the success of the Plan was dependent to some extent on Council funding. Cllr Hayes was however confident that the plan was achievable and realistic, noting the success in attracting external funding, such as that received for the improvement of the city’s buses and the commitment of Oxford Direct Services to the electrification of its significant vehicle fleet.

The plan would be subject to public consultation and the Committee was keen that this should be as inclusive and wide ranging as possible. It was confirmed that the consultation would include a questionnaire and that good use would be made of the Council’s good relationship with schools (and therefore pupils) in the City. Young people were some of the most powerful advocates of the importance of clean air.

Air quality measurements were available for all to see on the Councils website.  The ability for members of the public, eventually, to see measures of air pollution at a local street level would be desirable and would be worked towards. Currently there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32