We have submitted our concerns about air quality in the consultation “Improving air quality: national plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities”.
London air pollution by David Holt
We are very dissatisfied with DEFRA’s (Department of the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) proposed measures to address the problem:
- We do not accept that devolution of responsibility for air quality to local planning authorities is an appropriate way forward. Local authorities lack the resources, capacity and expertise to shoulder the responsibility.
- We are concerned that each local planning authority will act in isolation with regard to air quality. The government is committed to delivering 1 million new homes by 2020, and it is clear that the adverse air quality impacts of increased traffic, increased congestion and air pollution in pinch-points, will be experienced across more than one planning authority area and we are aware of no overarching strategy that can address this.
- Within Kent, we are particularly concerned at the conflict between the requirement for air quality improvement and policies and decisions on transport. Kent’s channel corridors provide for the movement of some 60% of freight between the UK and mainland Europe. Kent County Council’s Freight Action Plan seeks to facilitate increased traffic, rather than engage in sustainable freight movement strategies which reduce the nation’s reliance on this route. The Port of Dover’s expansion plans will have concomitant impact on the highways network further afield, not least at the existing Dartford Crossings. It is because of the congestion, delays and exceedance of air quality limit values that already exist at Dartford that DfT recently announced a third Thames Crossing to be sited east of Gravesend. However, Highways England have acknowledged that the construction of this crossing would be expected to divert only 14% of the traffic using Dartford to the new crossing at Gravesend; it will not resolve the existing problems at Dartford, but it will create new problems at Gravesend.
CPRE Kent has responded to Kent County council’s consultation on its Freight Action Plan.
HGV selection by Barry V
We expressed concern about the negative impact of HGVs, including:
- the increased wear and tear on the county’s roads;
- air pollution;
- the number of serious traffic incidents;
- the danger, noise, litter and nuisance of fly-parking;
- damage to rural verges and hedgerows.
We also stressed again our opposition to a single gigantic lorry park as a solution to Operation Stack.
To read our full response click here.
March 14th 2017
A planning inspector has refused two appeals by a developer to build up to 330 homes on greenfield land at Pond farm in the village of Newington near Sittingbourne. CPRE Kent was a major participant in the planning inquiry last November.
Pond Farm, Newington, Photo Vicky Ellis
The inspector has now dismissed the appeals on the grounds that “even after considerable weight is given to the social, economic and environmental benefits …… the substantial harm that the
appeal proposals would cause to the character of a valued landscape and their likely significant adverse effect on human health would significantly and demonstrably outweigh those benefits.”
Jillian Barr, CPRE Kent Planner, said: “This is great news for this beautiful part of Kent. The development would have drastically changed the character and landscape of the villages and we were extremely worried about the effect on air quality and human health. The inspector agreed with us on these important points and also agreed the harm caused could not be adequately mitigated. There would also have been a detrimental effect on heritage assets.”
The biggest housing development ever proposed in Canterbury has been approved. Canterbury City council has given outline planning permission for the 4,000-home Mountfield Park ‘garden city’ in south Canterbury. It stretches from Canterbury’s southern edge as far as the village of Bridge and includes shops, office space, sports pitches, two primary schools and a potential new site for Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
Photos: Vicky Ellis
We fear that Mountfield Park will have a severe negative impact on Canterbury. It is not an appropriate site because it will damage the visual setting of the world heritage cathedral.
Canterbury Committee chairman Dr Alan Holmes said: “The development will be on some of our best and most versatile farmland – it is vital to preserve this because we already import over 60% of our food and food security is an important issue. There are other low grade sites or we advocate prioritising development on brownfield sites.
“We also fear there will be a considerable worsening of traffic congestion, particularly on the Dover Roads, and this will in turn worsen air pollution. The Royal College of Physicians has raised concerns over deteriorating air quality as the result of traffic emissions and the serious impact this has on public health.”
To read our submissions on Mountfield Park click here and here.
November 14th 2016
CPRE Kent has set out its case against proposals to build up to 330 homes on greenfield land at Pond farm in the village of Newington near Sittingbourne.
We will be taking part in a planning inquiry into the plans by Gladman Developments Ltd. next month. Gladman is appealing against Swale Borough Council’s non-determination of the outline planning application.
Pond Farm, Newington, Photo Vicky Ellis
- the site is not allocated for housing in Swale Borough Council’s local plan
- it would increase the village size by 30% and change the character and landscape of both Newington and nearby Hartlip
- loss of grade 1 farmland (orchards), loss of hedgerows and risk to protected wildlife
- it would increase air pollution on Newington High Street above acceptable EU levels, add to congestion and have an impact on safety on the A2
- it is unsustainable with no proper transport infrastructure plans
- the Ramblers Association is joining with CPRE Kent to object to the permanent loss of important footpaths used for recreational and health purposes
- harm to the setting of important heritage assets
To read our full evidence papers click here and scroll down to consultation responses – there are seven papers in total.
October 18th 2016.
We are dismayed that the Government has today (July 6th) announced that the £250m lorry park the size of Disneyland will go ahead in the Kent countryside at Stanford. The Government is to start construction at the Stanford west site which will open next year.
We have argued that this is not the right solution and we need to look at the whole transport strategy, not least for the devastating effects of air pollution on the crowded and congested south east. This is a costly sticking plaster – £250m is almost the entire UK cycling budget.
It is galling that the Transport Select Committee listened to our arguments and agreed that the case had not yet been made to build this “gargantuan” concrete lorry park and other options should be considered, including a network of smaller lorry parks. Those committee findings seem to have been completely ignored.
Last week Hilary Newport set out her thoughts on the major transport problems facing Kent and called for pause for thought – what follows is her her blog. Continue reading