To consider a report of the Portfolio Holder: Transport and Air Quality and the Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Commissioning.
The LCR Combined Authority considered a report of the Portfolio Holder: Transport and Air Quality and Assistant Director, Policy and Strategic Commissioning which presented the interim Liverpool City Region Air Quality Action Plan.
In presenting the Air Quality Action Plan to the LCR Combined Authority, Councillor L Robinson, Portfolio Holder: Transport and Air Quality, explained how air pollution trends had changed over the decades, however, poor air quality still remained a significant issue. He went on to outline the short and long term health effects of air pollution on residents who were often the most vulnerable citizens.
Councillor L Robinson explained that a LCR Combined Authority Air Quality Task Force had been established following an Air Quality review undertaken by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Robinson provided an overview of the membership of the Task Force, which included Portfolio Holders from each of the constituent Local Authorities, health bodies, businesses and other stakeholders. The Task Force had worked collaboratively to develop an ambitious and practical Action Plan which would require significant behaviour changes to bring about improvements to air quality.
Councillor Robinson explained that the Action Plan set out actions for each of the following:-
· LCR Combined Authority;
· Constituent Local Authorities and partners;
· Residents, communities and businesses;
· Central Government and its agencies.
Gideon Ben-Tovim OBE, Mayoral Advisor: Natural Environment welcomed the report, particularly as it coincided with the Year of the Environment.
Councillor G Morgan, Portfolio Holder: Housing and Spatial Framework, noted that the Action Plan was particularly focused on the City Centre and sought clarity on what work the other Local Authorities were undertaking. Councillor Robinson advised Members that the Action Plan had been developed in collaboration with the six constituent Local Authorities, some of whom had introduced initiatives to stop cars idling outside schools. Examples of best practise such as this would be shared across the City Region.
Councillor D Baines, Portfolio Holder: Digital Connectivity and Inclusion, identified that the Action Plan had focused heavily on improvements to Transport. However, building houses and industry operations also impacted on air quality and he sought clarity on how the Action Plan would address these matters. Councillor L Robinson explained that the domestic consumption of fuel was key and through potential changes to planning guidance there was an opportunity for developers to build new homes which avoided energy waste.
Metro Mayor S Rotheram welcomed the excellent report and work undertaken to develop the Action Plan.
RESOLVED – That:-
(i) the draft, interim Air Quality Action Plan set out within Appendix Two of this report be endorsed;
(ii) the LCR Combined Authority reiterated its support for taking urgent, collective action to tackle poor air quality across the city region, lined to its commitments around Climate Emergency, net zero carbon by 2040 and key messages in the emerging Local Industrial Strategy around clean growth and
(iii) a draft final version of the Air Quality Action Plan, following pre-decision scrutiny by the LCR Combined Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, be received ahead of the end of the 2019/20 financial year.