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Annual status report (ASR) 2019

The main pollutant of concern in East Devon is Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) arising from road traffic around the busier and more congested areas. We continue to primarily focus on NO2 monitoring and management. Fifty four passive monitoring sites monitored NO2 concentrations across East Devon in 2018, as well as the Honiton Urban Background automatic monitoring site.

Air quality across the District is of a high overall standard; with only two exceedances in the most recent reporting year, with both being below the exceedance limit after distance correction. Monitoring results from the more populous towns such as Honiton and Axminster were slightly elevated compared to other areas.

Historically there was one Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) declared in East Devon which was revoked in April 2018 as a result of improvement in air quality in the designated area as well as the preparation of a detailed air quality report that found no exceedances observed at sensitive receptor locations.

We continue to work with local partner authorities including Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council on larger schemes across the wider Devon area. These schemes include the “Devon Wide Personal Exposure Reduction Project Report” published in May 2016 to inform future decision making with regard to mitigating exposure to pollution.

ASR 2019

Actions to Improve Air Quality

There are no designated AQMAs within the District and therefore we have no active Air Quality Action Plans (AQAPs). Therefore, there are no formal measures related to control and mitigation of sources of local air quality. However we are proactive in future mitigation and also more informal measures to tackle degradation of air quality.

We identified two major roads, A3052 and A376, which might be impacted upon by future developments. To investigate and evaluate the impact on local air quality from traffic these two roads in the communities of Clyst St Mary and Clyst St George an investigation was conducted by the council which concluded that between October 2018 and March 2019, despite the current levels of traffic flow (more than 44,000 vehicles a day using the Clyst St Mary roundabout for example) the first indications of 24 hour mean air quality show that particulate levels are very low. NO2 levels are all significantly lower than the hourly objective, but the annual results for NO2 may be of concern if they deteriorate. In the future, once more monitoring data is available, it will assist in predicting how the air quality results would be affected by changes (increases) in traffic flow. This will then be used to inform the strategic planning teams considering the opportunities offered by the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (GESP) project in this area. The next report will be available in Autumn 2019.

As well as this, all major new developments across the district are incorporating measures to discourage car use, by the provision of cycle and walking routes, the subsidising of new bus services and the co-location of employment opportunities near to large scale housing developments. Electric vehicle points are encouraged in these areas, and the Council are looking to install charging points at key locations. Green travel plans will be developed over the next year for the Council, who are also considering whether electric fleet vehicles should be introduced within the next 3 years.

Our priorities for the coming year

  • Continuing with the current NO2 diffusion tube monitoring network to identify any exceedances of the annual mean air quality objective
  • Ensure new developments meet the requirements of planning policies and guidance in relation to air quality
  • Proceed to the 2020 Annual Status Report

Local Engagement and How to get Involved

Members of the public can help improve air quality in the district by travelling using sustainable transport options, such as walking, running, cycling, using public transport or even moving to an electric vehicle. Car sharing is also an easy way to reduce private car use. Further information regarding Air Quality and our approach to LAQM can be found on our website.

Measures to address Air Quality

There have been a number of measures in previous years to improve air quality in problem areas, and also to inform future decision making. Key examples of this include:

  • Development of Roundabout at Turks Head Junction, Honiton in order to improve traffic flow
  • Completion of a detailed air quality assessment in order to support the revocation of the Honiton AQMA
  • Involvement and completion of the Devon Wide Personal Exposure Reduction Project Report
  • Expansion of the passive monitoring network

We are working with other Devon local authorities, including Devon County Council and Exeter City Council to tackle PM2.5 in the area. Collectively, our actions include Defra bids for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points and pedal assist bicycles. We have also worked with surrounding councils on providing transport companies with ‘ECOStar’ credentials via the ECOStars scheme.