1.2 Local Plan Policies
A review of the air quality policy was carried out as part of the Local Plan review process. It was felt that due to the increasing number of AQMAs,
national interest in air quality, better knowledge of health impacts, and increasing development in Cornwall, that the policy should be reviewed.
The new policy was moved from the design policies and incorporated into Policy 17 where it was felt to sit better alongside existing health policy.
The new policy, adopted in November 2016, reads:
“Air pollution is a top 10 cause of death in the UK. The main cause of poor air quality is vehicle emissions. Hot spots are declared under the
Environment Act 1995 as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and have Action Plans, to effect improvement, prepared for them that
include behaviour and infrastructure improvements. In Cornwall there are 6 AQMAs; Bodmin; Camborne-Pool-Redruth; Tideford; St Austell;
Gunnislake and Truro. This list is not exhaustive and candidate areas are continually being assessed.
Planning decisions, individually or cumulatively, should not lead to unacceptably poor air quality. In AQMAs, proposals must
demonstrate, by appropriate assessment methods set out in respective Action Plans, that they will not materially affect or degrade
AQMAs or present an unacceptable risk to human health either in terms of the significance of the number of people at risk or the
changes on the concentrations of pollutants. Development should not normally be allowed where acceptable mitigation cannot be identified.
Policy 17: Health and wellbeing
To improve the health and wellbeing of Cornwall’s communities, residents, workers and visitors, development should:
1. Protect, and alleviate risk to, people and the environment from unsafe, unhealthy and polluted environments by avoiding or
mitigating against harmful impacts and health risks such as air and noise pollution and water and land contamination and potential
hazards afforded from future climate change impacts; and
2. Where it affects Air Quality Management Areas, demonstrate that singularly or cumulatively, it will not cause increased risk to human
health from air pollution or exceeding EU standards. Measures proposed to mitigate this should reflect Cornwall’s Air Quality Action
Plan and Local Transport Plan and aimed at achieving reductions in pollutant emissions and public exposure; and…”
So what do we think?
It’s impossible to reconcile the objectives of improving air quality and environmental quality in general with the policies outlined in the Local Plan. To improve air quality requires a drastic revamp.
Current policies will make air quality worse by:
Encouraging the population and therefore car numbers to increase due to an unsustainable housing target;
Encouraging developments which will encourage car travel;
Carrying out road ‘improvements’ which will encourage car use;
Continue to allow and encourage a car-based tourist sector.
We need a new Local Plan!