‘More ac­tion needed to tackle pol­lu­tion’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by JAS­MINE RAPSON Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

A COUNTY en­vi­ron­ment chief has called for more ac­tion to be taken to tackle pol­lu­tion in Bucks, as one in ev­ery 18 deaths in the county is blamed on poor air qual­ity.

Bucks County Coun­cil’s (BCC) cab­i­net met on Mon­day morn­ing to dis­cuss the an­nual re­port for pub­lic health, which investigates the well­be­ing of Bucks res­i­dents and pro­vides rec­om­men­da­tions on how to tackle on­go­ing is­sues.

Cab­i­net mem­ber for plan­ning and en­vi­ron­ment, Cllr Bill Chap­ple, praised the re­port but asked what ac­tion is be­ing taken across all coun­cil ser­vices to im­prove air qual­ity in Bucks.

Last year, traf­fic black-spots in High Wy­combe and Mar­low were flagged as ar­eas that needed ur­gent at­ten­tion after it was re­vealed air pol­lu­tion lev­els are more than 70 per cent above the na­tional tar­get.

Speak­ing at the meet­ing, Cllr Chap­ple said: “I’m afraid last year we slipped a lit­tle and I was very sad to see that.

“I think it is hardly sur­pris­ing with the amount of growth we are see­ing in the county, but I think it high­lights when we do have growth we need to grow some­thing bet­ter, not some­thing worse.

“I think the sec­re­tary of state for en­vi­ron­ment was right in say­ing we need to leave this Earth bet­ter than we in­her­ited it.

“There’s a lot of things on the en­vi­ron­men­tal 25year plan that I think we should be work­ing on.

“I was very glad to see this, but I know it is an an­nual re­port and I would like to see more meat put on it in port­fo­lios so that it be­comes part of the county coun­cil.”

District coun­cils are in the process of for­mu­lat­ing their lo­cal plans – a blue­print for hous­ing growth over the next three decades.

South Bucks and Chiltern district coun­cils’ lo­cal plan out­lines where 9,150 homes will be built by 2033, while Wy­combe District Coun­cil needs to al­lo­cate space for 10,925.

Leader of BCC Martin Tett said schemes have been launched on a na­tional level to tackle pol­lu­tion, such as more elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing points, but added BCC can still play its part to pre­pare for the rise in pop­u­la­tion.

He said: “We have just heard this morn­ing about changes to plan­ning, such as ev­ery new house will need to have a charg­ing point for an elec­tric ve­hi­cle and new lamp­posts will be re­quired to have charg­ing points as well.

“That is a big step change, as it is be­com­ing much more fea­si­ble to have an elec­tric car be­cause a lot of re­search shows not be­ing able to charge an elec­tric car is one of the big in­hibitors to peo­ple ac­tu­ally buy­ing them.

“There are big changes tak­ing place, but we can play our part in that as well.”

There are a num­ber of traf­fic black­pots in Bucks that have been flagged as need­ing ur­gent at­ten­tion

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