Poor air quality in Cambridge – what will the councils say?


Tabling public questions on Cambridge’s poor air quality.

I’ve tabled two public questions – one to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy & Environment Committee at 10am on 09 Feb at Shire Hall, and one for Cambridge City Council’s full council at 6pm on 23 Feb at the Guildhall.

Both meetings above are public meetings. You can come along and watch the debates. You are also encouraged to ask public questions too ***because democracy***

Details of how to table public questions for Cambridgeshire County Council are here

Details of how to table public questions for Cambridge City Council are here

The text of my questions to the councils is along the lines of:

“What legal powers does the council have, and what legal duties does the council have regarding poor air quality in Cambridge/Cambridgeshire?

In particular, I would like to know under what circumstances the law gives the council the right to take action on air quality, and also under what circumstances the law *compels* the council to take action (to the extent that legal action could be taken against it if it did not act)”

Rather than going in with “Why aren’t you doing anything about this?!?!” I’m finding out what they think their legal powers and duties are regarding our poor air quality. I have also given the city council notice that I have tabled a question to the county council prior to their one, encouraging them to get in touch with their county counterparts *to ensure that their responses are consistent with each other*. I will be incredibly disappointed if I get two sets of responses saying it’s the responsibility of the other council.

At last night’s City Deal Board, Hilary Holden demonstrated Cambridge has a big issue – two roads in my neighbourhood having far too many red blobs on for my liking.

The scale of public concern about air quality came as a surprise to one of the three councillors with a vote on the city deal board.

Note Cllr Burkitt’s full comments in the video here.

That should be a green light – not just for the greens, but other councillors in other parties to take the issue much more seriously, and develop manifesto commitments/policies for the 2017 Cambridgeshire County Council elections in four months time.

Note Cambridge City Council’s air pollution pages are at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/air-pollution

Note Cambridgeshire County Council’s statement on air pollution regarding highways is at http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20099/planning_and_development/234/planning/10

If you are concerned about air quality, write to your councillors or your MP. People responding in numbers seem to have given a wake up call to councillors in and around Cambridge, which hopefully will lead to much stronger policies and actions to deal with it. But we need to keep the pressure up.


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