Action plan to tackle poor air quality in Midhurst

An action plan to tackle air pollution in Midhurst has been added to Chichester District Council’s list of priorities after cabinet members declared Rumbolds Hill to be an Air Quality Management Area.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 10:33 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 3:01 pm
Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

The area has failed tests for nitrogen oxide levels every year since 2015 and concerns have been raised about the health of people living there.

With the road being so narrow, it is difficult  – and often impossible – for vehicles to pass each other, meaning engines chug away as cars and lorries wait their turn to move.

After receiving the results of a four-week public consultation into the issue, cabinet members agreed on Tuesday (January 7) that an air quality action plan should be prepared.

Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst (photo from Google Maps Street View)

Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment, said: “Enhancing air quality in the district is a key priority for the council, and declaring an Air Quality Management Area at Rumbolds Hill is just one of the steps we are taking to help protect our district’s environment.

“As a council, we monitor air quality in key areas of the district for the benefit of our residents, businesses and visitors.”

By law, the district council has to declare any area which fails to meet government-set targets an Air Quality Management Area.

This doesn’t mean the council has to come up with a solution to the problem but officers will arrange to speak to the highways team at West Sussex County Council to work out what could be done to improve things.

Chichester has declared three such areas, and the work carried out has seen 20 electric vehicle charging points placed in council-run car parks around the city, two electric vehicles added to the fleet used by the parking services team, and the introduction of the Co-wheels Car Club, which provides pay-as-you-drive, low emission car hire.

Officers will now work with the county council, South Downs National Park Authority, Midhurst Town Council and Midhurst Vision Steering Group, to deliver the plan.

It is expected to be adopted in the summer.

Gillian Keegan, MP for Chichester, said: “It is great that the council are putting in place an Air Quality Management Area at Rumbolds Hill in Midhurst. I recently highlighted this particular site in a speech in Parliament, following enquiries about poor air quality to the council.

“This is the first step to ensure the air quality is improved and I will do all I can to support any action to tackle poor air quality.

“I will be continuing my work in Parliament on this issue and the wider environment. The Government are bringing forward the Environment Bill which will put in place measures and oversight bodies to ensure action on these issues is swift and effective as we move towards our target of net-zero carbon by, or before, 2050.”

To find out more about pollution and air quality in the district, log on to www.chichester.gov.uk/pollution