Residents have less than a fortnight left to have their say on plans dictating what action Bromley Council will take in the coming years to improve air quality in the borough.
Public consultation will run until July 27 on Bromley’s draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP), which presents a vision of what the authority will do over the next five years to address and improve air quality issues.
In their introduction to the draft document, the council state they’re “committed to reduce levels of all pollutants as far as is practicable within the local context”.
“Pollution travels across borough, national and international boundaries, and many of the factors contributing to pollution in Bromley may be beyond our control (e.g. transboundary pollution). Moreover, the main areas in our borough that experience exceedances are along our busy ‘A’ roads, the majority of which are the responsibility of TfL,” the council state.
“This being the case, we will continue to work with and lobby regional and central government on policies and issues beyond Bromley’s control, whilst tackling action in those areas within our sphere of influence.”
The document reveals the council’s plans to extend its Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) which currently only covers a handful of wards in the north-west of the borough.
Post-2020, the AQMA would be extended to include much more of the borough, with just parts of the Biggin Hill, Darwin, Cray Valley East and Chelsfield and Pratts Bottom left out of it.
Bromley currently has ten passive monitoring sites in the borough with all sites located in the AQMA, and one co-located at the borough’s one air quality monitoring station, which is capable of measuring PM2.5, in Harwood Avenue.
Community groups such as Bromley Living Streets and Ravensbourne Valley Residents are among those who have published their draft feedback to the documents.
Air quality: Did you know that LBB residents breathe in more PM2.5 (basically dangerous fine dust) than WHO guidelines?
If you care about the air you breathe please see https://t.co/2go4Rbgbwa where we publish our draft response to LBB consultation on Air Quality pic.twitter.com/X9iMC0SoyD
— Ravensbourne Valley Residents (@RVResidents) July 14, 2020
Among concerns raised by the latter group are that “on occasion, (the report) highlights and gives prominence to specific ‘good news’ whilst ignoring relevant ‘bad news’”.
As an example, the group highlighted one example in which the report states Bromley meets all air quality objectives for hourly and 24-hour concentrations of nitrous oxide, but “does not highlight in an equivalent way that annual air quality objectives were not so met”.
The new air quality plan comes as the coronavirus pandemic heightened debate around air quality across London’s largest borough, with residents confined to their homes.
At least one community group, Ban Bromley Bonfires, was founded in response to some resident concerns that a spike in backyard burn-offs during the period led to an increase in PM2.5 levels in the area, although the council has previously denied there is any link.
“I think we…need to say that it’s extremely inconsiderate at such a highly sensitive time due to Covid-19, when so many people are using their gardens in the fine weather, to be having bonfires,” Bromley’s executive member for public protection and enforcement, Kate Lymer, said in April.
“It is quite wrong though to suggest that small bonfires are having an adverse major impact on air quality with many factors to consider here but with the current Covid-19 situation recognised as generally having the effect of reducing pollution.”
Residents wanting to have their say can view the documents and feedback portal here.