Air quality guidelines, WHO and BANES

Local Air Quality –  New Data Shows it’s Worse than We Think!
Bryn Jones, Dowding Road, Larkhall

Well lockdown’s over. Pubs and cafes are thronging. Football, rugby and cricket grounds are open again. Kids are chattering back to school. Life is back to normal. But so is the traffic. Aren’t we all pleased with that? Probably not the 5.4 million (yes, that’s ‘million’) UK residents who, like me, suffer with asthma.
Now here’s a funny thing. My asthma got worse in early 2020. The GP put me on medication. Then the lockdown began, the traffic shrank and my asthma improved. There was a similar cycle before and during the second lockdown this year (2021). I can honestly say that during the early summer my breathing was better than it has been in years.
Now the traffic has returned to ‘normal’ with short-cutting motorists speeding past my front door and depositing their tiny exhaust emission particles in our ‘air space’. Guess what’s happened ?  I’m back to wheezing and tight chests, with potentially more serious illnesses to follow if this air quality persists.
BANES air quality plan and its Clean Air Zone might improve things but it’s been operating for weeks now and I haven’t noticed a difference. So I took a look at BANES web site data for the London Road from 7th to 14th October. That indicates that harmful nitrogen oxide emissions exceeded both the government and the new World Health Organisation ‘safe’ limit for nitrogen dioxide on most days. https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/data-plot?site_id=BHA4&days=7 That’s bad for me, worse for children – the worst affected by vehicle pollution – and thousands of Bath residents with respiratory problems. 

Now there’s more bad news. That BANES Plan aims for a ‘safe’ nitrogen dioxide limit of 40 milligrams (40 µg/m3). After extensive research the impartial World Health Organisation has decided that 40 is much too high to be safe. WHO says the limit should be lowered by 37% to 25 µg/m3. As far as I can tell that means that London Road NOX emissions – which often didn’t even meet the 40 µg limit -were only ‘safe’, under the new guideline, for a few hours a day on four occasions over a week.

The gist is this. If the WHO revised figures are accurate, then BANES measures for Bath are nowhere near sufficient to protect you or me, nor many with worse conditions. The WHO emphasise that vehicle emissions cause a whole host of other serious illnesses: cardiovascular, cancer and ‘preterm birth and other causes of death in children and infants’. Bath traffic is literally choking our lives to death. If you are as concerned as me about this threat, please write to BANES council and ask them how they propose to react to the new WHO guidelines.

Kevin_Guy@BATHNES.GOV.UK
Manda_Rigby@BATHNES.GOV.UK
Sarah_Warren@BATHNES.GOV.UK

Consultation on transport in Bath – a short one!

Before March 1st you can have your say – through an online survey that takes 5 minutes only! On B&NES consultation for their Bath Transport Delivery Action Plan.

Here is the link to the Online Survey for the Consultation: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/transport-delivery-action-plan-bath-consultation

And here is the information from B&NES to tell you more about it: Consultation: Bath Transport Delivery Action Plan. We are delighted to inform you that we have recently launched a majorconsultation on the Bath Transport Delivery Action Plan to delivertransformative change to our transport system in Bath (available here: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/transport-delivery-action-plan-bath). The Transport Delivery Action Plan will help tackle some of the biggest challenges we face as a society: improving air quality, addressing the climate emergency, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling congestion on our roads.The Council adopted the Liveable Neighbourhood PoliceConsultation: Bath Transport Delivery Action Plan in December 2020. This plan builds on those policies to identify the transport measures that we want to deliver in collaboration with residents, commuters and visitors to Bath.The development of the plan provides an opportunity to help create places we want to live and work – with better connected, healthier and more sustainable communities. This consultation provides the chance for people and stakeholders to help shape our future transport system. As the first of two, this online questionnaire takes just five minutesto complete. It provides people with the opportunity to identify the issues they care most about, and to give us their initial thoughts on several delivery concepts. These views will underpin the developmentof a package of transport options for delivery, which we will share at a second consultation later this year.This consultation closes at midnight on 1st March 2021.

Transition Larkhall’s response to B&NES’ consultation on the Local Plan

As well as supporting contributions from other groups working towards similar aims to those of Transition Larkhall, we have produced our own additional comments, shown below.

Transition Larkhall proposes one additional new policy and amendments to six of those proposed in the draft Plan.

NEW POLICY

In accordance with existing and proposed policies for sustainable development and transport, an over-riding aim of all planning, practices and controls should be to realise The Fifteen Minute Principle within a timescale of five years.
‘Everyone living in a city should have access to essential urban services within a 15 minute walk or bike. The 15-Minute City Project is designed to help access-focused urban transformations be what we need them to be: ambitious, inclusive, measurable and effectively implemented.’
https://www.15minutecity.com/about

Suggested amendments to BANES Proposed Policies
added in italics

PAGE 24
Consultation Reference DM 12 Amendments to Policy CP7
Green Infrastructure policy to include:
A) a designation as relates to the Bath River Line project. Work has been progressing on the Bath River Line: the project is to create a high quality, continuous 10km walking and cycling connection from Newbridge to Batheaston/Bathampton and to improve and better connect the green spaces along the route and manage it as one. The purpose of the designation would be to protect/safeguard the area from built development; to ensure opportunities are taken within development proposals coming forward in the area to plan for green infrastructure and connectivity; and to help identify & facilitate opportunities for the wider network (of GI corridors, footpath/cycle paths etc) to connect into it.
B) a designation for strategic urban cycle routes between the South and East (e.g. London Road) of the city and the centre, which are at least equal to the current level of provision from the West.

PAGE 33
Consultation Reference DM 21 Amend Policy B5
to clarify that as a first priority PBSA should be developed on campus and that it will only be allowed on other sites where:
A) a need can be demonstrated (with further detail to be set out in either Policy H2B or an amended Policy H2).
B) the development will provide at least 10% of the accommodation capacity to be available for BANES residents at social rents; with appropriate segregation where necessary.
 In the Central area and Enterprise Zone it will remain the case that PBSA will also not be permitted where it would adversely affect the realisation of the vision/strategy for the city in relation to delivery of housing and economic development. Note: further amendment to Policy B5 is proposed in relation to the University of Bath (see section 4)

Consultation reference DM29 (PAGE 43)
ST1: Promoting Sustainable Travel
It is proposed to strengthen this policy by adding the elements outlined below:
Requirement for all development to be located where there are opportunities to travel by alternatives to private car usage, and with opportunities to reduce travel distance
Requirement for development design to support sustainable travel. This aims to enable schemes to be refused on the basis of poor transport design creating car dependency, rather than just not meeting highways design standards.
Sustainable transport opportunities to be available for first occupiers – early delivery.
Mitigation must maximise opportunities for mode shift before increasing traffic capacity. Opportunities for low-carbon, last mile goods deliveries – dependent on scale/location of development. Developers to demonstrate they have made contributions to modal shift to public transport, where this is not currently adjacent, through negotiations with transport providers and BANES officers.

Page 44

Consultation reference DM 32

ST3: Transport Infrastructure

It is proposed to strengthen this policy by adding the elements outlined below:

Infrastructure to be planned and designed promoting mode shift to sustainable transport as a priority over traffic capacity.

Schemes which increase traffic capacity must demonstrate that opportunities to achieve mode shift as an alternative solution have been exhausted and that they will not lead to an increase in peak-time local traffic of more than 5%. Such schemes must incorporate commensurate sustainable transport improvements.

Add LTN1/20 into the list of design guidance with which proposals should Comply

PAGE 45

Consultation reference DM 33

ST5: Traffic Management Proposals

Transition Larkhall is collecting views of local residents to enable
us to take part in the implementation of the Council’s Liveable
Neighbourhood Strategy.  We are concerned with the detail of  the
Council’s intention to ‘prioritise walking and cycling’:  safety of
pedestrians and cyclists is vital if people are going to choose these
modes of travel;  issues such as narrow pavements,  speeding
through-traffic and cars parked on pavements, must all be addressed in
order to implement the Strategy.  Public transport availability and
especially cost should be an integral part of the rebalancing of the
environment towards people’s health and well-being,  without
penalising those who need vehicle access to local schools and shops.

It is proposed that this policy should be amended by adding requirements that reflect the Council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods Strategy. These additional requirements will:

Create attractive places to enhance sense of community, health and wellbeing through re-balancing space towards people and away from vehicles.

Achieve mode shift through discouraging short car journeys and prioritising walking and cycling;

Support people with restricted mobility;

Reduce on-street non-residential parking and provide opportunities for EV

charging, car clubs, social spaces and improved walking and cycling routes;

Retain vehicular access for residents and businesses; and

Be implemented on a trial basis to enable changes to be made in consultation with the council and community.
Discourage a significant amount of non-local through traffic from residential streets while allowing access to all local businesses and amenities.

PAGE  46

Consultation reference DM34

ST6: Park & Ride

It is proposed to amend the policy to:

Change the emphasis from ‘traditional’ park and ride to develop a new model of “interchange” a multi modal connection with opportunities for e-car hire, e-bike hire, access to the countryside, community gain such as solar canopy, alternative uses for social gain outside of peak usage e.g. farmers markets, cafés, pop up venues and festivals all to be explored. A multi modal site, not just car to bus.

Add the requirement to demonstrate that the most suitable and sustainable

available site(s) has been selected.

To expand the requirement to assess traffic impact in order that it also includes assessment of transport benefits.

Particularly for the east of Bath, to investigate and develop smaller scale, ‘satellite’ parking sites along major bus routes.

Make your own Festive Wreath

Following a very successful week at Alice Park Community Garden, we’ve decided to extend availability of our festive DIY socially-distanced craft tables under the oak barn, until Sunday 20th December.
Thank you to everyone who has generously donated greenery so that the public can create their own ‘festive flourish’ from scratch. On the tables are holly, ivy, evergreen shrubbery, wool and textiles.
We have added some willow, for latent wreath-makers. The idea is that anyone can visit the barn and spend time creating a centerpiece, a garland or wreath using the cut greenery provided. Be Covid-safe, by keeping your distance, bring your own secateurs and wash your hands after.  Please don’t cut anything from the garden. Please show your support for Alice Park Community Garden by sharing your creations with us on Facebook or Twitter, and making a donation to help fund seeds and garden supplies for 2021. 
Festive wishes.

A message from Bristol Rising Tide

A message from Bristol Rising Tide – the campaign group objecting to Bristol Airport’s appeal.  Follow the link below to object to the planning application: 

Bristol Airport are up to no good again. Despite the groundswell of opposition to expansion, Bristol Airport are appealling North Somerset Council’s rejection of planning permission.

Expanding Bristol Airport would generate a million tonnes of extra CO2 equivalent every single year – that’s 50% of Bristol’s total current carbon emissions. 

Both the Mayor of Bristol and the regional Metro Mayor are currently supporting the Airport expansion. The whole thing is pants. But if we stand firm there’s a good chance Bristol Airport lose their appeal and expansion gets put to bed once and for all.

It’s time to object – yes, again!

You can read and object to Bristol Airport’s revised plans on the North Somerset Council planning portal here by searching for reference number 20/P/2896/APPCON. The appeal will be handled by the Planning Inspectorate (a national government agency) but North Somerset Council say they will pass on all new comments received. The appeal process will begin on 6th January so get your objections in by then!

Tell Bristol’s leaders to get their climate act together

Both Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Metro Mayor Tim Bowles stand against public opposition, the environment and North Somerset Council in support of the airport’s expansion. Now’s a good time to drop them a line suggesting they change their mind. Here’s their e-mail addresses if you fancy dropping them a few lines of your mind:

Mayor@westofengland-ca.gov.uk or Tweet @MayorTimBowles

mayor@bristol.gov.uk or tweet @MarvinJRees

We’ll keep an eye on the process and keep updating you. If you’re involved in other groups opposing the airport and want to share upcoming actions with those that have signed this petition, don’t hesitate to reply to this e-mail to get in touch.

Bristol Rising Tide

p.s. if you really can’t get enough of petitions, Bristol Green Party have asked us to share their one against Bristol Airport expansion which seems pretty similar to this one. We also have a fun petition calling to Rewild Bristol Airport if you want to go one step beyond opposing expansion.

Grants available for Community Support Initiatives

If you are involved in a Community Support initiative during this pandemic,  here is your opportunity to apply for a funding award.  
Message from Western Power:

Western Power Distribution offers festive community support grants of up to £1,500

With the festive season approaching at the end of a difficult year, the region’s electricity distribution network company, Western Power Distribution, is extending its ‘In This Together – Community Matters Fund’ to offer help to the most vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 and in need of additional support at this time.

WPD is inviting charities, community groups and local authorities to apply for awards of up to £1,500 to support initiatives such as those offering food and clothing parcels and hot meals, as well as gifts and support to vulnerable children, adults and the elderly over the winter holidays.

Phil Swift, Western Power Distribution CEO, said: “We all know that the festive period is going to be different this year but, for some, the effects of the pandemic will hit particularly hard and make this time incredibly difficult. I’m delighted we’re able to extend our commitment and play our role in supporting our communities through this challenging time.

“Our grants have already delivered a welcome boost to a wide range of organisations from large city hospitals to smaller community groups. As winter approaches, we are recognising initiatives that work hard to spread a little festive cheer and practical support amongst those that need it most. By the end of 2020, WPD will have contributed £1million to many immensely worthy causes, and I can say – hand on heart – that every penny will have been money well spent.”

To date, grant-funded initiatives have directly benefited thousands of people impacted by the emotional, social and economic impact of COVID-19 across the breadth of the WPD network, with £750,000 awarded to 463 organisation so far this year already.

Applications for the ‘In This Together – Community Matters Fund’ are welcome from registered charities, community groups and councils within the WPD distribution network area.

The application form is available from the WPD website www.westernpower.co.uk/ITT-festive-fund<https://westernpower.cmail19.com/t/j-l-ajyduiy-tkhdthjiuh-y/>  and the closing date for submissions is Sunday 15 November. Applicants will be notified as to whether their application has been successful or not by the end of November.

Please feel free to share this information within your community. We welcome applications up to £1,500 but no funding request is too small.

Apply for the fund<https://westernpower.cmail19.com/t/j-l-ajyduiy-tkhdthjiuh-j/>

Could you help Larkhall become a ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’?

B&NES have been consulting on their proposal for Liveable Neighbourhoods in Bath.
You will find a summary of the council’s plans in their consultation document here:
https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/Liveable%20Neighbourhoods%20Summary%20Brochure.pdf
These two sentences from the document are particularly relevant:
“The aim is to reduce the dominance of vehicles in residential areas –
particularly through-traffic – while maintaining vehicle access to
homes and businesses. This can be done through a range of measures
including vehicle restrictions, traffic calming, one-way streets and
residents’ parking zones”
Residents are able to request the council to consider their community
area for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood. Some additional information
about this process from the document is here:
https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/Appendix%20D%20-
%20low%20traffic%20neighbourhood%20proforma.pdf

Camden Residents Association intend to propose a bus gate in Camden
Road. They are preparing a submission to the council for this and have
invited us – at Transition Larkhall – to work with them to plan for a better environment for both Camden and Larkhall.
Would any of you, who are residents of NE Bath, be interested in
joining a small group to investigate the possibility of submitting a
proposal under this scheme? Unfortunately, we are not able to have a
public meeting to discuss this. However, we will be having further discussions with Camden Residents’ Association. 
We will keep you all informed on the progress of these meetings and in the
meantime please do contact us at any time at Transition Larkhall <transitionlarkhall@gmail.com>

Parking on pavements – what do you think? Your chance to give your views in a government consultation

The Department for Transport is holding a national review and a consultation seeking views on three proposals to tackle pavement parking in England outside London. 

In London pavement parking has been banned (with a small number of exceptions on some narrow streets) since 1974. 

This consultation is open to the public and is running until 22nd November 2020.  Further details on the proposals and how to respond are available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking/pavement-parking-options-for-change

Please complete the survey, it’s important that your views are heard.

Liveable Neighbourhoods consultation

B&NES Council have extended the deadline for the online consultation on Liveable Neighbourhoods until  Sunday 18th October. Follow this link for information and the survey – please complete it,  and pass on to anyone else in B&NES
www.bathnes.gov.uk/liveableneighbourhoods<http://tracking.vuelio.co.uk/tracking/click?d=g9iBS_RiMn8hR5t–pV_V4d-XlzT5RREbPwHv5XHV4hd9mBsuFp8-uqci_pzdabCVvUxHnYPF6KexAGUIr8aaGz7boZO1BRfcS3Roq_7t2BT5jlJv7UJ9fn_dzomQzrhWGlfWJqgq_atze2LHfZGaMDRQQJJezgQk9FVOAE2LisD0>

Bath & North East Somerset Council has developed three strategies to achieve liveable neighbourhoods, which aim to improve air quality and health, encourage more walking and cycling and reduce vehicles in residential areas.

The three liveable neighbourhoods strategies are:

  *   Low traffic neighbourhood strategy
  *   Residents’ parking schemes strategy
  *   On-street electric vehicle charging strategy
Councillor Joanna Wright said: “To improve both air quality and public health, we need to create neighbourhoods in which people can safely walk and cycle and reduce our reliance on cars. We believe it is possible to do this at the same time as maintaining vehicle access to homes and businesses. By reconsidering how we use our streets, we can transform community spaces and support local businesses to thrive. These are ambitious strategies but it’s important that we hear people’s views to get liveable neighbourhoods right for everyone. Please have your say by responding to our consultation.”  

Liveable Neighbourhoods

The Council has produced a website where people can say what improvements they would like to see to roads, cycle tracks and pavements to make it easier for people to walk and cycle safely. It’s really easy to use, with a map where you just drop a pin where you want to comment. You can also approve the comments that are already there.

It’s not obvious what the closing date is for this consultation, so now while we’re still locked down and the weather’s not so lovely would be a good time! Let them know what you think!