In 2015 Derby City Council was identified by DEFRA, along with five other cities, to take early action to improve roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions. Initially, the government direction required local authorities to implement clean air zones, by 2020.
There is a requirement to reduce the level of roadside NO2 in the air to below 40μg/m3 as soon as possible in line with EU and UK statutory regulations.
Derby City Council has undertaken work to predict the NO2 roadside emission levels (as per the requirements for modelling set out by government). This has identified that Stafford Street, near to its junction with Friar Gate, would exceed this limit in 2020 if no action was taken.
In July 2017 government launched a revised National Air Quality Plan for roadside NO2 emissions. This plan sets out that local authorities should develop measures to achieve compliance in their areas. The locally developed scheme (the Local Air Quality Plan) has to be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval. If approval is given, then the Council will be legally obliged to implement the scheme.
The reports provided represent the technical evidence as provided as part of the final business case submission.
The work has been carried out in accordance with the governments’ methodology and requirements and demonstrates how Derby’s Local Air Quality Plan will achieve compliance in the shortest possible time. The plan has robust evidence to demonstrate how this will be achieved.
Approximately 2,500 consultation responses were received during the phase one consultation, where three main options were set out for consideration. Of the three options, the overwhelming support was for option one - the traffic management solution and the Council’s preferred option. Just under three quarters of respondents (73.6%) agreed with the main measures set out in option one, compared to just 27.5% for option two - a charging zone within the inner ring road and 17.1% for option three - an extended charging zone.
Phase 2 consultation results were fed into the initial identification of the mitigation measures and into the development of the Clean Air Fund (CAF) bid. The CAF is a competitive bidding process and the government’s criteria restrict the process to measures that mitigate the impact of the delivery of the roadside NO2 plan. Some of the issues therefore raised during the consultation have not been able to be addressed through the preferred option refinement or CAF. However, further consideration will be given to any other funding sources available to deliver other measures to support the wider air quality agenda.
The primary objective of the Local Air Quality Plan as specified by Government is to address roadside NO2 limits in the shortest possible time in order to achieve legal compliance. As part of the business case process we have had to demonstrate that the local air quality plan proposals address the compliance issue and that the Clean Air Fund proposals address and mitigate any impacts.
The Council recognises the importance of behaviour change and encouraging more sustainable travel options such as public transport use and active travel (cycling and walking). The Council are already implementing behaviour change projects and are currently managing an extensive behaviour change programme, which runs until 31st March 2020, following a successful bid to the Department for Transport’s Access Fund. The Cycle Derby project also offers a wide range of services to support and enable people from all walks of life to cycle.
A Clean Air Fund (CAF) has been made available by Government, to help fund measures which mitigate the impact of any plans to tackle the predicted exceedances. Bidding for the CAF is competitive and we have worked closely with Government to develop our Clean Air Fund bid.
We have undertaken an impact assessment of the preferred option and this has helped inform the various mitigation measures we require by identifying the localised impacts on various stakeholders. This has been fed into the CAF proposals.
The bid includes measures to be funded from the implementation fund (the traffic and wider network management measures) and the CAF with the necessary supporting mitigation measures to address localised impacts and to help ensure compliance can be maintained.
There are two elements to the CAF:
The Derby CAF would follow successful examples of similar programmes that have resulted in more polluting vehicles being removed from the road in cities across the world, and would demonstrate Derby’s commitment to helping improve the city’s environment.
Following the Outline Business Case submission the government informed the Council on the 8th March 2019 of the provision of £4.5million of the funding to enable the Council to ‘proceed towards developing the implementation and contract arrangements for the outlined traffic management measures’.
The timely confirmation of the funding has enabled the Council to have reassurance that the preferred scheme is supported by government and has facilitated the Council’s ability to take forward the project to ensure implementation of the most critical elements as soon as possible.