Our plan to tackle air pollution approved

Cabinet has approved a new plan to reduce air pollution across the borough – supporting its ambitious vision to tackle climate change.

What happened?

On 12 November Cabinet passed an action plan which outlines what will be done to improve air quality in Kirklees up to March 2024. It will replace the previous plan which ran from May 2007 to August 2019.

Why is it important?

Air pollution is associated with a number of serious health impacts – it is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. It particularly affects the most vulnerable in society such as children and elderly people, and those with heart and lung conditions.

The new plan will see Kirklees install up to 17 rapid electric vehicle charge points as part of a larger West Yorkshire project.

We will also continue our planning policy which requires all new build homes to have electric vehicle charge points installed. This will soon be a national requirement but Kirklees was one of the first councils in the country to introduce it.

What else is happening?

In an innovative approach, new air quality monitoring equipment will be used outside schools to gather evidence of the harmful effects waiting vehicles can have. Resources will be created for schools to tackle this issue and the council will take advantage of any change in the law to use enforcement powers to address it.

We will also work with young people to understand their views on how to prevent air pollution and will support them to travel to school in the most sustainable and suitable way for them.

We will also look to improve the benefits of electric vehicle ownership for residents through parking incentives and improved infrastructure.

Kirklees will support large vehicle operators such as HGVs to record their emissions and work to reduce their contribution to air pollution. This is a part of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s ECO Stars scheme which Kirklees Council leads on.

Who else are we working with

The new action plan will also see Kirklees leading on the delivery of the West Yorkshire Low Emissions Strategy. Funding from the Government has been secured to employ an officer, who works out of Kirklees, supporting the whole of West Yorkshire on this.

We will be working with the University of Huddersfield, companies based in the 3M Buckley Building and traffic management infrastructure suppliers to develop innovative traffic management technologies. This will improve congestion and air quality across Kirklees.

How does this relate to the Climate Emergency

The Air Quality Action Plan feeds into and supports the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan which aims to make the borough carbon neutral by 2038.

Cllr Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Greener Kirklees, said:

“We want children to have the best start in life and for all residents to be as well as possible for as long as possible. Clean air is a crucial part of this and is key to a healthy environment.

We’re passionate about improving the environment and over recent years we’ve made some really positives changes and great steps forward but there is more we all need to do.

Our strategy sets out what we as a council will do to make further progress but we all need to act if we are to have a major impact and I would like to encourage everyone to think about what you can do to improve the quality of air for the people who live, work and visit Kirklees.”

Want to find out more?

Read the Kirklees Air Quality Action Plan in full here.

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