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How should we tackle air quality?

Published Friday 4 November, 2022
Last updated on Friday 4 November, 2022

People can now have their say on how air quality is tackled across the borough in the future.

Swale Borough Council is updating their five-year air quality action plan to include more car clubs, more electric vehicle (EV) charging points and improved walking and cycling infrastructure for better connected town centres that promote public transport, walking and cycling options.

The current plan comes to an end in December, with the next plan starting in 2023 until 2028.

Cllr Julian Saunders, chair of the environment committee at the council, said:

“We’re updating our air quality action plan and want to hear what people think.

“Since we first introduced the action plan, we’ve started a successful car club in Faversham, changed our fleet of vehicles into EVs and installed 18 new electric charging points across the borough.

“We also joined up with other councils in Kent to launch the Kent Air website, giving people access to air quality information in real time, and finalised our parking supplementary planning document which outlines how we will include more EV parking around the borough.

“We also introduced anti-idling legislation and set up the green school forum, which gives us the opportunity to engage with local schools to help improve air quality where our children spend their time.”

Cllr Tim Valentine, vice chair of the environment committee at the council, said:

“Overall, we’ve seen an improvement in air quality across the borough since we’ve been monitoring pollutants and we want to build on this momentum for the next five years.

“We plan to set up car clubs and bike hire schemes in Sheppey and Sittingbourne, work with Kent County Council (KCC) and bus operators to improve bus services and public transport infrastructure and explore possible traffic solutions such as creating one-way streets or installing chicanes to slow traffic in our AQMAs.

“We’re also finalising our local cycling and walking infrastructure plan to reduce congestion by promoting active ways of travelling, particularly cycling and walking, and give us an opportunity to bid for the Government funding we desperately need.”

The air quality action plan (2023-28) consultation is available now, until Sunday, 15 January 2023, and can be found here.