Agenda item

Questions from the Public Under Standing order No. 19

To receive questions relating to items on the Agenda from members of the public and responses thereto.


Details of questions should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. Further information about speaking at a committee can be found here: Speaking at a Committee



Four questions were received from members of the public, relating to Minute No. 99:-


Question received from Mr Neil Martin


I’ve suffered with asthma for 20 years. Now I and others, struggle to walk by Pinhoe and Polsloe Roads. What are the current pollution levels measurement since August 2023? Under the 2010 Equality Act, decision makers at Exeter City Council, are required to consider and take account of disabilities needs like asthma. Will Exeter City Council agree that pollution is rising on these arterial roads?





The Portfolio Holder for Corporate & Democratic Services and Environmental Health in responding, advised that the data presented in the report did not show that pollution levels were rising on roads in Exeter and that there had been significant reductions seen over the period covered by this report. The data from 2023, would be presented in the next Annual Status report, which would be published in 2024. Presenting annual data in this form was the Council’s legal duty under the Environment Act 1990.



Supplementary question, asked by Mr Martin


Do you agree that the current timescales are far too long between the readings and the publishing of the pollution levels, which in the case of the report was 21 months behind since the readings were taken? Will the Heavitree active streets project increase pollution and therefore, the frequency of my asthmas attacks and incur breaches of nitrogen dioxide in 2023/24?


Supplementary Response


The Leader advised that the timescales were covered in the report later in the meeting and some of the points would also be covered in the report. He also advised that due to the reporting process, certain information would not be available at the time of reporting.



Question received from Mr Alan Conibere


Given that increased traffic congestion has the potential to increase pollutant emissions and degrade air quality, particularly near main arterial routes, please confirm if Exeter City Council intend to install any additional air quality monitoring equipment so that the full impact of the Heavitree & Whipton Experimental Traffic Regulation Order can be established and assessed.





The Portfolio Holder for Corporate & Democratic Services and Environmental Health in responding, advised that the City Council had no plans to install additional air quality monitoring equipment for the purpose of assessing the impact of the scheme. The current monitoring network would allow the Council to perform its statutory functions, which were to monitor and report on compliance with the air quality objectives.


However, the City Council had recently started a separate project to explore whether new methods could be used to better understand and present the air pollution levels along the Heavitree corridor. A summary of this project had been included with the report to Members and the project would include the installation of some additional monitoring equipment along the corridor from Livery Dole to Sweetbrier Lane. Data from these would be made available to Devon County Council to use in their appraisal of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order scheme.



Supplementary question, asked by Mr Conibere


What enquiries had been made by Devon County Council or its agents in respect of the adequacy of the air quality monitoring equipment for the Heavitree and Whipton Active Street trial both before and after implementation and on what dates?


Supplementary Response


The Leader advised that a response to the question would be provided and supplemented to the minutes.



Question received from Mr Ian Frankum


This report, and Executive is discussing historic data from 21 months ago (January 2022), up to nine months ago. Therefore, are you aware, that City Council decisions made, are using potentially inaccurate figures? Would the Executive agree that data should be reported more frequently and will the Heavitree Active streets project increase pollution and incur new breaches of nitrogen dioxide in 2023 and 2024?





The Portfolio Holder for Corporate & Democratic Services and Environmental Health in responding, advised that the reporting frequency was that which was legally required of the Council under the Environment Act 1990 and the data is presented in the report was in accordance with the relevant guidance from national Government. Altering this to use data in ways that did not meet the guidance would reduce the reliability of the data. This report was also not one, which was seeking to make decisions and the data was presented for Member’s information.



Supplementary question, asked by Mr Frankum


Would the Council accept that the effects of NO2 levels are above the target level, particularly in the Heavitree corridor and will impact on health of those affected in that period, which was quite substantial and that more should be done now rather than waiting 12 months?


Supplementary Response


The Leader advised that all factors had been taken into consideration, and that the report reflected the air quality of the previous year and further data would be collected.



Question received from Mrs Lucy Haigh


Housing developments and recent road closures have increased demand on Pinhoe/Heavitree corridors. HGVs are being caught up with displaced residential traffic, causing more idling and emissions outside homes, and walking routes for our school children. The Council had a duty to protect children and ‘protected statuses’ from dangerous air quality. Please evidence how the Council prepared for these publicised changes, and if it did not, why not?




The Portfolio Holder for Corporate & Democratic Services and Environmental Health in responding, advised that Housing developments which had the potential to have a significant adverse effect on pollution levels were required to undertake an air quality assessment as part of the planning process. The developer was required to demonstrate that no significant impact would result from the scheme or provide suitable mitigation.


The changes to the road network in Heavitree were not directly City Council decisions. Whilst the Council were consulted, they were planned and implemented by the Highways Authority, which was Devon County Council (DCC) and questions about the planning of the scheme were best directed to the County Council. Exeter City Council was feeding in air quality data to the officers at DCC to help them evaluate the impact of the changes. The City Council’s legal duty was to monitor air pollution, identify any failures of the legal objectives and implement its Air Quality Action Plan. The data from monitoring during 2023 would be presented in 2024 in accordance with the legal timetables for doing so.



Supplementary question, asked by Mrs Lucy Haigh


How will the Council prove to the East Wonford community regarding the Heavitree corridor, that it understands that resident health needs require protection, particularly considering the proposed ‘Ella’s Law’ which is a new clean air human rights bill, following the death of a 10 year girl? Please could the Council step in before another year passes and do the right thing for our community.


Supplementary Response


The Leader advised that whatever law was passed by the Government that the Council would implement those laws and always does its best in accordance with available legislation framework.



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