Marlow Town Council is adopting this Clean Air Plan in light of excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Marlow town centre, linked mainly to road traffic. High levels of NO2 led Wycombe District Council to declare the town centre an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in December 2017.
The council believes that the excess NO2 pollution in the town centre and its associated health risks are unacceptable. It wants to add its weight to Wycombe District Council’s 2018 Air Quality Action Plan so as to bring NO2 levels back within legal limits as quickly as possible.
The council’s specific objective is to eliminate excess NO2 in the town centre by 2025, enabling revocation of the AQMA at the first formal review thereafter.
The council resolves to work strenuously to achieve this objective, engaging with the whole community and encouraging higher council tiers and other stakeholders to act.
In particular, the council will aim to educate the community with the aim of encouraging and accelerating behaviour changes that will cut NO2 levels. It will use all channels available to this end, including town centre signage and notice boards, articles in The Marlovian magazine, the forthcoming #sustainablemarlow website, its social media feeds, and open meetings for residents.
The council will put a special focus on Marlow’s air pollution problem to mark the official Clean Air Day, which in 2020 falls on 18th June.
The council will target technological and behaviour changes in the following key areas:
Promoting walking and cycling: The council will lead a conversation with residents on ways in which walking and cycling within Marlow could be made safer and easier so that they become the natural answer for more journeys by more people. It will look at launching a Car Free Fridays initiative.
Reducing vehicle journeys in the town centre: The council will encourage drivers to avoid trips in the town centre where possible. It will investigate possibilities around Park & Stride facilities for trips to the town centre. It will promote usage of the bus services that serve Marlow town centre.
Encouraging eco-driving: Vehicle NOx emissions increase with speed and acceleration. The council will promote eco-driving behaviours within the town centre, including reduced speed and smoother driving behaviour. It will step up efforts to discourage drivers from leaving engines idling when stopped. Actions could include the installation of Moving Vehicle Activated Signs (MVASs) to remind drivers of their speed.
Making the vehicle fleet cleaner: The council will encourage residents to choose low-NOx vehicles, including electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles. It will also work to reduce obstacles to their uptake, for example by increasing the availability of electric charging points. It will work with stakeholders to push for low-NOx retrofitting of buses that travel through Marlow or replacement with new green buses.
Improving street ventilation: There are few options to alter street morphology but the council will consider any opportunities that emerge through the planning process, including the installation of “green walls” to absorb pollution.
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