[Report of the Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability.]
Final Draft following public & statutory consultation on the Haringey Air Quality Action Plan 2018-22. Agreement to become a designated authority to issue fixed penalty notices for stationary idling engine offences.
The Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability introduced this report which provided an update on the final draft of the Haringey Air Quality Action Plan 2019-24, following public & statutory consultation. Cabinet's approval was sought for the Council to become a designated authority to issue fixed penalty notices for stationary idling engine offences.
The Cabinet Member noted the Air Quality Action Plan 2019-24 laid out the Council’s current and future ambitions to reduce air pollution. As, with much of London, improving air quality was a key priority in Haringey and in London because of the negative effect it had on residents health, particularly on older, disabled residents and our children. The air quality was particularly bad in the east of borough. The air quality agenda affects all aspects of the Council’s work and our activities go hand in hand with our commitments to combatting climate change, developing walking, cycling and the wider use of public transport.
In response to questions from Councillor Emery, the following information was provided:
Officers confirmed that the Central Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 will require the Council to monitor PM2.5. The reason why the Council has not been monitoring PM2.5 levels to date was because London in general was not considered to be breaching the levels that had been previously set by the EU. However, the Council will be monitoring and complying with the legislative requirements of the strategy surrounding PM2.5 by the deadlines within the policy paper. The date of implementation would be provided to Cllr Emery in writing by the Commercial EH & TS Manager.
Reasons for Decision
Air Quality Action Plan 2019-24
A copy of the amended AQAP following consultation is attached to this report as Appendix B. The consultation is summarised in section 7 below. The draft AQAP 2019-2024 has been developed with consideration to priority 3 – Place of the Borough Plan 2019-23, in that it will help to deliver an environment that is safe, clean, green and where people can lead active and healthy lives.
Like other London Boroughs, Haringey was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in 2001 due to air quality levels for two key pollutants exceeding statutory limits - Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and fine particulates (PM10).
Under Part 4 of the Environment Act 1995, Haringey is required to provide an AQAP to address the areas of poor air quality identified within the AQMA.
There is strong evidence that NO2 and PM10 are harmful to health in the following ways:
NO2 is created when fuel is burnt, the main sources have been combustion engines, heating plants and construction plant/vehicles.
PM10 is made up from a variety of substances i.e. soot, dust and secondary particles formed by the reaction of other pollutants in the air. The main sources of particulate matter are combustion engines, biomass heating plants (wood fuelled), brake and tyre wear, construction activity and HGVs.
The AQAP 2019-24 aims to tackle these areas of poor air quality. It sets out 25 actions and commitments, developed under the following seven broad themes in order of priority, that propose to reduce air pollution in Haringey over the next five years:
The plan brings together and references several policies and strategies across the Council including:
In response to the consultation, most respondents favoured traffic reducing interventions such as pedestrianisation, road closures, temporary and permanent car free days as well as green infrastructure. The consultation is summarised in section 7 below.
Fixed penalty notices for idling
The Council has power to authorise the imposition of fixed penalty notices on drivers who commit an idling offence, i.e. leaves their engine running while stationary and fails to stop the engine running when requested to do so.
This had not previously been recommended because research had shown that few fixed penalty notices were served in boroughs where officers have been authorised to issue such notices. Therefore, it did not appear the most cost-effective means of reducing air pollution. However, this position has been reviewed in light of the points outlined below.
Idling was one of the most discussed problems by respondents to the AQAP consultation, with 10% of respondents requesting stricter enforcement measures around schools and other common places for idling. The results of the consultation are summarised in section 7 below.
Fixed penalty notices would be a useful tool as well as a positive message in tackling idling because they would give more weight to existing measures used to promote behavioural change. For example, the Council encouraged drivers to switch off their engines at school gates during Clean Air Day in June 2019. The schools involved were Bounds Green and Coleridge Primary School. The Council has also sent letters to bus and coach companies and mini cab operators within the borough advising them of the health risks associated with idling and requesting that they remind staff not to leave their engines running whilst stationary. It is likely that these measures would be taken more seriously by drivers if officers were authorised to enforce them by way of fixed penalty notices.
The key implication associated with enforcement for idling would be infrastructure and staffing costs.
To help assist, Haringey along with 27 other London Boroughs will take part in a pan-London anti-idling project funded by the Mayors Air Quality Fund (MAQF), coordinated by City of London Corporation and London Borough of Camden. The Fund (£500,000) will provide 2 full time project officers to deliver the following within Haringey:
Enforcement to combat idling is a condition of participation in the project. For the purpose of the project, enforcement would include:
Each borough will be required to provide the following Enforcement Monitoring data annually:
Match funding from boroughs will consist of:
Therefore, it is recommended that officers be authorised to impose fixed penalty notices because it is now clear that the cost implications would be lower (given the funding from the Mayor of London), residents appear to favour such stricter enforcement measures and it would strengthen the Council’s ability to tackle this source of air pollution.
Alternative options considered
The development of an AQAP is a statutory requirement and therefore there are no lawful alternative. The proposed draft plan integrates a number of key strategies and Council services that all have an impact on air quality and therefore it is considered the best option.
Three options have been considered with regard to taking enforcement action against drivers who commit stationary idling offences: i) do nothing ii) continue to encourage behaviour change using existing measures but without enforcement by way of fixed penalty notices iii) authorise the issue of fixed penalty notices as well as encouraging behaviour change. The reasons why options i) and ii) are not recommended are set out in 5.3 and 5.4. below.
Whilst issuing fixed penalty notices against drivers who commit stationary idling offences is unlikely to have significant effect on air quality by itself, it is nevertheless part of a tool kit for changing the behaviour of drivers. Traffic is the main cause of poor air quality in Haringey and so changing drivers’ habits is an important step towards improving air quality. In order to change the culture and behaviour of drivers, idling can be tackled through a variety of measures.
The consultation showed that addressing idling is an important issue for Haringey residents. If the Council does nothing, it would not be doing all it reasonably can to tackle air quality issues related to traffic, which is the biggest source of poor air quality in Haringey and a significant concern for its residents.
Therefore, this option is not recommended.
Continue to encourage behaviour change using existing measures but without enforcement by way of fixed penalty notices.
The AQAP (2019-2024) includes a range of measures to tackle air quality within the Borough. Measures include education / behaviour change.
Haringey, like many other local authorities, has encouraged behavioural change in order to reduce idling. Some of our recent actions are outlined in paragraph 4.12 above and similar action could be continued in the future without the use of fixed penalty notices. However, whilst these actions will have some effect, if officers are authorised to issue fixed penalty notices, this will give more weight to such requests for drivers to switch their engines off whilst stationary and so would be likely to make the existing measures more effective.
Therefore, this option is not recommended.