It’s 5 months since the consultation, to which we responded, on Barnet Council’s Draft Air Quality Action Plan 2017-2022 ended. The Council got the message that actions promoting sustainable transport are badly needed, yet we are still waiting to see any signs of action.
The results of the consultation have been published by the Council as follows:
We asked residents for their views on the Council’s Draft Air Quality Action Plan 2017-2022
We received 73 responses to the consultation.
80% of respondents said that they felt poor air quality is an issue in Barnet to a great extent. The most common themes were concerns about air quality affecting heath, the sheer volume of traffic on Barnet’s roads, congestion, the lack of cycling infrastructure, and the general unpleasantness of walking due to traffic fumes.
Most respondents (over 85%) agreed with the air pollution sources that the action plan will focus on, and over 70% felt that the plan was easy to understand. With respects to the proposed actions to improve air quality, there was strong support, particularly for increased green barriers and trees, anti-idling projects and work with schools on travel planning. The action with most disagreement was introducing 20mph speed limits close to schools as a measure to improve air quality where 11% of respondents strongly disagreed.
We asked residents for their own suggestions and ideas on improving air quality. Many respondents said there were simply too many vehicles on the roads and that cycling, walking and public transport needs to be incentivised. Many respondents cited the extra traffic generated by increased housing being built in the Borough as a key concern. Idling vehicles, particularly outside schools was also a strong theme.
Ideas included segregated cycle routes for commuters and advanced stop lines for cyclists at junctions; better maintenance of walking paths; tackling the school run; banning bonfires entirely in residential areas; closing off local “rat-runs”; education campaign to move to cleaner more efficient boilers in the home; limiting the use of wood-burning stoves; educational campaigns to get people to reduce their reliance on the private car.
All of the proposed actions will go forward to the new air quality action plan 2017-2022. We will focus more strongly on the actions promoting sustainable transport as a result of the consultation exercise. We will consider the other new ideas including actions around wood-burning stoves, bonfires, better cycling infrastructure and promotion of efficient boilers through the air quality steering group process.