The primary source of air pollution in urban areas is road traffic with >60% UK local authorities exceeding the health-based annual mean air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Ambient air pollution is carcinogenic and the cardiovascular and respiratory effects of poor air quality are long-established. In Bristol, research has shown that 188 people every year die from exposure to air pollution, contributing towards the 29,000 UK annual deaths estimated by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP). Local authorities have a statutory duty to manage air quality in their jurisdictions, however limited funds, powers and political will have meant that progress in implementing measures to reduce air pollution has been limited. This paper presents an evaluation of air quality action planning in Bristol and proposes a novel methodology to address the problem of quantifying the impact of air quality action plan measures to ensure they are calibrated to achieve national health-based objectives as soon as possible. The project team is working with Bristol City Council to calculate the reduction in vehicle numbers necessary to meet the national air quality objectives in the city. Delphi methodology is used to derive consensus on local action plan measures from a broad panel of stakeholders and experts to achieve the required reduction in vehicles. NOx emissions resulting from the proposed measures’ impact on traffic volume were modelled and converted to NO2 concentrations to confirm when/whether the air quality objectives would be achieved. The outcomes from this research will form best practice guidance for local authorities to use across the UK and internationally.
Barnes, J., Hayes, E. T., & Longhurst, J. (2015, June). Learning from Bristol: A novel method for local air quality action planning. Poster presented at 52nd International Making Cities Livable Conference on Achieving Green, Healthy Cities