Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Thoughts ahead of the Co-design of Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan 2017 - 2022

Lambeth are holding an open meeting next week

"How to improve air quality in Lambeth over the next 5 years?
Lambeth Air Quality Action Plan is up for renewal next year. We are now working on the first draft of the plan and we would like to hear your ideas! A formal consultation on the draft plan will take place later this year."

I'm doing a bit of reading in preparation, plus having some thoughts (up first, reading list below).

THOUGHTS
Achieving results seems to be a real challenge.
Motor traffic is key. Much traffic moves through Lambeth on TfL controlled roads so Lambeth's influence is limited. Does London's new Street Types designation reflect borough's current or desired position?
Government policy affects mode choice as will petrol prices etc.
The population is growing in London and in the borough. There's a lot of construction traffic.
2017 - 2022 is likely to be too long a stretch for one set of target objectives given the slow pace against previous targets. We need hard targets in a short time frame.
Planning for accessibility, rather than for mobility - provision of services, shops, jobs within active travel distance.
What worked and what didn't work in the previous plan, and why?
TfL has a useful list of headings/actions that could form core headings for Lambeth's plan

What other borough plans are relevant:
- How much of the AQAP does Lambeth's 2011 - 2031 Transport Plan already meet? Is the Transport Plan on target. What is/isn't working, and why?
- How will next Transport Local Implementation Plan be developed and when will it be submitted?
Budget may be an issue - it may need to be reallocated from other areas within transport. What resources are available? How is S106/CIL money used to support AQAP? How is income from parking fines etc. allocated within transport - how well are fines being collected? Who scrutinises outcomes?
- Lambeth's revised budget (PDF) for 2016/17 and 2017/18 has nothing for cycling infrastructure versus £1.4m in 2015/16. Does this make sense?  What was the original budget for these years? Why the change?
- In 2016 Lambeth will agree a new Community Plan with partners. This will set out a 10
year vision for the borough, and the positive changes Lambeth will seek to achieve with partners
to make that vision a reality. How does the AQAP plan fit to that?

It would be good to identify quick wins: affordable, uncontentious, and quick to implement but only if they are also effective
For more expensive or more contentious measures then a strategy to achieve them is needed.
Think Engineering (inc. planning conditions, planting etc.), Education (discouraging short journeys by car), Enforcement (taking action against polluters)
To enable Co-design ensure transparent reporting against targets (with a chance to query reports) is in place.

Are there particular journey patterns/modes of transport that can be effectively targeted?

Action Plan format? Spreadsheet? Doodle on headings: ProposedAction/Impact/Success Criteria/Target Date/Lead/Supporters/Resource needed/Resource available/Resource needed/Who could do it instead?/Likely threats to success/Confidence in getting success/Good resource use vs other options?/What was outcome/What learning for future plans

READING (some links to follow if information is publicly available)
1. The full existing plan (1998 - 2014?) can be found at INSERT WEB LINK
2. A tabular summary of the Council’s original Action Plan, without dates, is provided (see Table 9.1) within the Lambeth Air Quality Progress Report 2014  (PDF) giving progress against the plan.

The Council designated the whole Borough an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for the NO2 and PM10 in 2007. The 2015 Updating and Screening Assessment for Lambeth Council (PDF) shows the scale of the challenge:

For NO2:

  •  the LB4 kerbside site at Brixton Road easily exceeded the objective in 2014 (ed exceeded = failed to meet). It has exceeded the objective for all years reported and consistently monitored some of the highest concentrations in London. 
  • The industrial site at Vauxhall Bondway (LB5) exceeded the objective for all years reported, including 2014
  • The background site at Streatham Green (LB6) did not exceed the AQS annual mean objective of 40 µg m-3 for 2014, with an annual mean concentration of around 37 µg m -3 . This represents a borderline concentration with the objective (ed: it only just met the objective in 2014). The site has exceeded the objective previously in recent years, including 2010 and 2013
  • The 2014 results show that only the LB4 (Brixton Road) site exceeded the hourly mean objective (by an extremely large margin), even with reduced data capture. The site has also previously exceeded this objective by a large margin in previous years. As noted earlier the site is located near the kerb and it is extremely polluted due to the road traffic. 

For PM10

  • All of the Lambeth monitoring sites met the annual mean objective in 2013, other than the LB5 site at Vauxhall Bondway, which was borderline with the objective. The site is close to the Vauxhall bus interchange and in previous years it has exceeded the annual mean. The Brixton Road kerbside site (LB4) has also monitored high annual mean concentrations greater than 30 µg m-3 for each year reported. For this site the monitored concentration in 2012 was borderline with the objective. Concentrations monitored at Streatham Green (LB6) however were lower and more in line with background concentrations. 
  • The daily mean objective, which has been exceeded more widely across the UK than the annual mean objective, is reported in Table 2.5. The monitoring results for the Vauxhall Bondway (LB5) show that the daily mean objective of not more than 35 days with a mean 24-hour concentration greater than 50 µg m-3 was exceeded for all of the years shown (other than 2012 when there was very low data capture). 
  • The objective was also exceeded at the Brixton road (LB4) site in 2011 and 2012 only. In 2014 the objective with met, based on the 90 percentile. 
  • The Streatham Green (LB6) site met the objective for all years reported.  The daily mean standard of 50 µg m-3 however was exceeded at all sites for all years shown, although as expected there were fewer occurrences at the background site at Streatham Green than at other two sites. 

3. Motor transport is the key element in these emissions.  Lambeth's Transport Plan 2011 - 2031 has significant sections about this:

3.2.2.3 Mayor of London's Transport Strategy Challenge: Improving air quality p52
including this paragraph:
The introduction of the London Low Emission Zone in February 2008 does not appear yet to have produced a step change reduction inlevels of NO2 and PM10 at any of the monitoring stations in Lambeth. However the historical analysis of average NO2 and PM10 levels in Lambeth over the past eight years does offer some hope that 2008 may have seen the start of a downward trend in overall levels. 

4.2.4  Objective 3:‐ Improve Air Quality (p85)
One of five objectives Lambeth aim to meet:
1. Promote sustainable healthy travel behaviour
2. Improve the quality, reliability and efficiency of the road network
3. Improve Air Quality
4. Reduce the perceived and actual danger on Lambeth’s roads
5. Reduce CO2 emissions

Lambeth's transport Local Implementation Plan (LIP) 2011/12 – 2013/14 can be found within Lambeth's Transport Plan 2011 - 2031 from p97.
The current LIP 2014/15 - 2016/17 can be found at INSERT WEB LINK.
We are now in the 3rd and final year and the 2016/17 funding letter is on TfL's Lambeth Page, which also includes a useful Lambeth fact sheet.

The output reporting sheet against the LIP (information on progress required annually by TfL) can be found at INSERT WEB LINK.

The European Environment Agency today published "Explaining road transport emissions - A non-technical guide" - an informative read.

The European Cyclists' Federation has just published a report "What can governments do for more cycling in urban logistics?"

TfL's recent Travel in London report 8 summarises trends and developments relating to travel and transport in London. Its principal function is to describe how travel in London is changing and provide an interpretative overview of progress towards implementing the transport and other related strategies of the Mayor of London, to inform future policy development. See especially Chapter 9. London’s air quality and greenhouse gas emissions and transport and public health p167
 . 



1 comment:

Mj Keane said...

Well written. The only bit I would tend to disagree with is "Lambeth's influence is limited" in respect of traffic on TfL controlled roads. Lambeth, like other local authorities, should tap into local expertise and learn how to influence TfL more effectively. TfL do not always get it right. There are numerous design failings on the TfL controlled road network in Lambeth and local residents and the travelling public have to put up with the safety and environmental consequences.

TfL may not be the ones making unnecessary journeys but their approach to the road network does have adverse consequences and few seem to be able to challenge them. Never the less that is exactly what needs to happen. Every TfL junction, link, crossing, parking restriction, bus stop, bus lane etc. should be systematically reviewed. Start with the most polluted areas in Lambeth and work out from there. Difficult but not impossible.

At some point HGVs may be forced to avoid peak hours but that may simply just make more space for private cars. Private car hire numbers have more tn doubled in 10 years probably at the expense of. Lambeth - of cycle hangar fame - must build on those small beginnings and start to be a little more vocal and informed on wider transport issues.

TfL can do much better. There are 1 million vehicle km to be saved in Vauxhall and some 2 tonnes NOx in the vicinity of a primary school at stake. Lambeth needs to follow the evidence and do the right thing.