Air Quality Action Plan for the Ivers - your feedback needed

South Bucks District Council is consulting on the Air Quality Action Plan to tackle air pollution in the Ivers, after finding elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide in the area.

Air pollution can cause health problems, including contributing to the onset of heart disease and cancers. Children, the elderly and those with heart and lung conditions are particularly vulnerable to air pollution and the annual health cost to society in the UK is estimated to be around £16 billion.

South Bucks District Council is committed to reducing the exposure of people in our communities to poor air quality, and the Draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) outlines proposed actions to improve air quality in Iver between 2019 and 2025.

Improving air quality needs everyone's support to be successful, so we would like feedback from residents and businesses on the plan.

In August 2018, Iver was designated an Air Quality Management Area due to excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide along the High Street and Thorney Lane North and South. Traffic emissions have been identified as the main cause of the air pollution, and the traffic also create noise and dust issues.

Whilst the District Council can't control the traffic travelling through the district on local roads and motorways, we can influence transport companies to use emission efficient engines and effective route planning to protect AQMA designated areas.

The 2016 Iver Traffic and Transport study identified that areas parts of Iver High Street have a higher percentage of HGV traffic than the average on UK motorways.

Therefore, the following three priorities for action have been identified in the plan.

The first priority is to consider the B470 Iver High Street and the northern end of Thorney Mill North.

There is very little off-street parking in Iver village and this means residents and visitors often park on the side of the road. This, along with stationary vehicles delivering to the area, narrows the High Street and often prevents traffic from flowing through it easily, resulting in congestion.

Cars are also parked on the pavements, making some sections impassable for pedestrians and discourages walking.

The action plan suggests we look at opportunities to create new parking areas, so cars can park in places other than up on the kerb, allowing free movement of traffic through the High Street.

Improving the environmental capacity of the High Street will not only improve air quality, it will also make it a better place for walking and cycling; more environmentally friendly means of travel which also improve health.

The second priority is to reduce emissions from HGVs by encouraging uptake of cleaner vehicles and decreasing the number of vehicles where possible.

The third priority is to minimise impacts from infrastructure projects and local developments such as the Heathrow third runway, Western Rail Link to Heathrow and Pinewood Studios Development.

A longer term option would be to develop a relief road to take HGVs away from the High Street.

Cllr Luisa Sullivan, South Bucks District Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Iver Parish Cllr, said: "If traffic were able to move freely on Iver High Street, there wouldn't be any congestion, resulting in the excess air pollution. Poor air quality can have a seriously detrimental impact on our health, in particular in relation to respiratory conditions such as asthma.  That's why we are taking action to improve air quality and health for everyone and I would really encourage everyone to read the action plan, give us your feedback and get involved in reducing air pollution in our local area."

The consultation is open until 14 February 2020.