Agenda item

Presented By:Jackie Homan


The committee considered a report of the Head of Environment that outlined two different approaches that were likely to be available to the WMCA and its constituent local authorities to improve air quality across the West Midlands Combined Authority area.  This was important given the recent Environment Act and the anticipated additional targets on addressing particulates. 


The Portfolio Lead for Environment, Energy &HS2 added that the Environment Act had an increased focus on air pollution caused by particulates that were emitted from non-tail pipe emissions from vehicles, including tyre and break wear, domestic and industrial combustion sources.  The Act also introduced new powers, including the ability for local authorities to co-opt air quality partners. 


The Air Quality Options Paper outlined some of the work that had already been delivered across the region, including the activity that constituent local authorities were taking through their own air quality action plans.  The Head of Environment added that the West Midlands Air Quality Framework should be considered as an enabler which would not have a negative impact the ambitions of local authorities.


Members discussed and shared comments on the Air Quality Framework and costings, the lack of and the importance of air quality data that was needed to identify hotspot areas and to quantify the impact of air quality measures within the region, officer engagement with constituent authorities and the need for better engagement with non-constituent authorities on the air quality agenda.  To avoid displacement activity, the committee emphasised and supported a combined approach to address air quality and supported the development of an area-wide strategy to tackle the problem of air pollution in many areas.


In addition, members welcomed the design guide that had been developed by the University of Birmingham that provided information for planners on air quality.  Members also shared their concerns on the effects of wood burners, and would welcome a combined approach to a behaviour change campaign.


With regards to working with non-constituent authorities, the WMCA had engaged on the natural environment and would welcome dialogue with non-constituent colleagues on the air quality agenda.  In addition, it would also be important to understand which interventions lent themselves to working across which geographies.


In terms of monitoring hotspots, it was reported that a common approach to measuring particulates in different local authorities was important but also to have a collective approach to using the new low-cost sensors that private sectors were developing and promoting to individual local authorities. 









(1)          A more proactive working arrangement with local authorities in developing air quality plans within a wider West Midlands Air Quality Framework, which clarified roles for different parties and identified a number of shared working practices, be supported.


(2)          The WMCA to oversee the collation of air quality data, storage and its availability be supported.


(3)          A shared approach to the use of low-cost sensors by local authorities be supported.


(4)          Consistent messaging relating to behavioural change factors necessary to improve area quality standards be supported.


(5)          The important role on non-constituent authorities on the air quality agenda and inclusion on air quality matters be supported.


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