Air Quality duties and responsibilities in Oxfordshire
The UK has a number of unique acts and regulations on air quality. The Environment Act (1995) sets out the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) process which requires local authorities to regularly review, assess, monitor and report air quality in their local areas.
In Oxfordshire, the district and city councils are required to monitor air quality within their respective areas. Where air pollution levels have exceeded the national air quality objectives and these are not being met, they must identify and declare Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).
Once declared, they must develop Air Quality Action Plans (AQAP) and produce annual air quality status reports (ASR) for Defra.
An Air Quality Action Plan is a statutory requirement under the Local Air Quality Management process to reduce air pollution within Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). It’s a document that explains what are the actions that the local authority and its partners have committed with and are expected to deliver, in order to reduce air pollution levels in their AQMA.
The annual publication of an Air Quality Annual Status Report is a statutory requirement under the Local Air Quality Management. This is a document where local authorities present on the latest status of air quality in their local areas, based on the results obtained from their annual monitoring activities. It is also a document that is expected to provide a latest update on the delivery status of all the measures that the local authority and its partners have committed to deliver, under their specific AQAP, to improve air quality in their local areas.
The process of LAQM follows 2 very important guidance documents:
Oxfordshire operates under a two tier authority system:
The Oxfordshire Districts (Oxford City Council, WODC, VoWHDC, WODC, and Cherwell) are responsible for the review of air quality planning applications, and hold the statutory duties for air quality, as well as responsibility for the implementation of the LAQM regime.
Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for (amongst other things) the Highways, Transport Planning, Passenger Transport, and for the design and Implementation of Local Transport Plans.
The County Council are also legally asked to develop of a local air quality strategy, and to support the districts in the developments and delivery of their AQAPs. This can include specific projects related to transport. See the Local Initiatives page for examples of projects.
LAQM – How the regime works
- The UK government is required to publish or update (every 5 years) a national air quality strategy.
- Local authorities are required to apply the LAQM regime to their local areas, which means that they need to regularly monitor air quality in their local areas, following LAQM TG22 guidance, in order to be able to identify air quality hotspots and areas where air quality legal limit values are being exceeded.
- If those areas are identified, they will be nominated Air Quality management Areas.
- An Air Quality Action Plan will need to be put in place by those local authorities and their local partners, with a list of measures to be delivered with the intention of fixing air pollution.
- An air quality status report will need to be published every year to inform on the delivery status of those measures and on the current status of air quality levels in the local area.
In addition, the district and city councils respond to planning applications to mitigate and address any adverse impacts on local air quality, review and create air quality planning policies, review air quality assessments and (if required) produce air quality guidance.
|In the sections on the right hand side, you will be able to find a list of all the relevant and most up to date air quality policy documents of your District Council.