Air Quality Improvement
Bristol's Air Quality Action Plan is now part of the Joint Local Transport Plan, and covers the whole of Bristol. The plan aimed to reduce traffic pollution by strategic management of the road network and encouraging residents and commuters to shift to more sustainable travel modes. As the main source of pollution is road traffic, BCC decided to integrate the Air Quality Action Plan with the second Joint Local Transport Plan. This aimed to:
Improve air quality in the AQMA and ensure air quality in all other areas remains better than the national standards.
Reduce congestion by reducing demand for and promoting alternatives to the private car.
Improve accessibility to employment, education and services.
Improve the quality of life by enhancing public spaces, community safety, and creating sustainable communities.
BCC has delivered a substantial programme of regulation, investment, highway management and promotional work to reduce pollution from transport in the city. In the last three years BCC has:
Improved traffic management and reducing emissions in the AQMA:
Upgraded the traffic control system to improve traffic flow at critical intersections and improve the reliability of public transport.
Reduced congestion at key points in the centre by restricting "waiting" and by "green wave" controlled traffic lights.
Reduced speed limits on 5 kilometres of motorway access into the centre.
Promoted good environmental driving and servicing with subsidised training and promotional material for fleet drivers.
Promoted and piloting alternative fuelled vehicles, with the BCC fleet having over 100 LPG and hybrid vehicles.
Developed electric vehicle infrastructure with 40 charging points installed by 2011.
Improved a network of cross city bus routes with improved passenger facilities, priority at traffic lights, bus lanes and real-time bus information.
Improved cycling facilities and encouraging cycling through a £22m Cycling City project.
Introduced Residents' Parking Zones to ease congestion by preventing commuter parking except in controlled places. Improving accessibility:
Focused public transport and cycling improvements on key employment areas, education facilities and services such as hospitals. Improved quality of life and encouraged sustainable communities:
Created two pilot 20mph zones to engender cultural shift to lower speeds and create more liveable streets that encourage walking and cycling.
Developed the Frome Greenway walking and cycling route to access the city' s new city centre retail centre.
Promoted "car sharing" schemes enabling community car hire when a car is required.
BCC is committed to public engagement on environmental issues and disseminates information on air quality through the following channels:
Real – time "live" data driven web site (www.bristol.airqualitydata.com).
BCC web site.
National data.gov.uk web site.
European Air Quality Now (CITEAIR) web site
Specific initiatives, e.g. consultation on AQ action plan \ AQMA changes, including questionnaires, focus groups and a web presence.
BCC’s websites provide real–time data from all of our continuous analysers and provide easy ways for citizens to access current and historic information on air quality, including FAQ's and simple guides on pollution issues. BCC's on-line service is independently rated as one of the best in the UK by Air Quality Bulletin.
BCC contributes to the CITEAIR project by regularly uploading live data to the www.airqualitynow.eu web site, which collates air quality data from across Europe and expresses measurements through a Common Air Quality Index.
BCC regularly engages with citizens when changes are proposed to air quality action plans or when the Air Quality Management Area boundary is changed. BCC recently consulted on an AQMA boundary change using a new consultation web site called Citizen Space.
Targets for key transport measures will be included in annual delivery plans, which have yet to be published. The key transport measures planned for Greater Bristol are summarised below. BCC has committed funding to deliver the following:
Effective air quality monitoring, reporting and engagement with the public.
Completing the Greater Bristol Bus Network.
Completing reviews of speed limits to potentially reduce.
Roll-out of Residential Parking Zones and 20mph home zones in residential areas.
An electric vehicle programme, which includes installing charging points in 40 public car parks by 2012 and developing a smart-phone application to check availability and location, together with information about routes and public transport connections across the city.
Retrofitting 60 buses to Euro V standards, reducing NOx emissions by 6,700 Kg per year, and helping to reduce particulate emissions.
BCC has also secured an additional £5m of Government funding to improve sustainable transport options along key commuter routes through:
Low cost targeted investment to improve pedestrian and cycle links to the Greater Bristol Bus Network.
Working in partnership with employers located along commuter corridors, to develop and implement bespoke packages to shift to more sustainable travel by their staff.
Delivering a targeted behaviour change communication campaign.
Together these elements increase sustainable commuting, reduce congestion, and reduce carbon emissions and emissions of local pollutants.
In addition to local plans, the UK Government is preparing air quality plans for cities to tackle the national issue of stable or rising NO2 concentrations in cities. These will be consulted on shortly and are intended to secure compliance with the NO2 limit values by 2015. A key component of these plans will be Low Emission Zones.