Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) attended a meeting at Fareham Borough Council's offices today Friday (12 January) to discuss the Council's work to improve air quality.
The Council has been working on a new strategy to improve the Borough's air quality following a Government report which highlighted areas across the country, including Fareham, that are considered to carry a future risk in terms of unacceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide. The areas of road identified in the report were from the A27 near the Delme roundabout, down to the Quay Street roundabout, part of Gosport Road and along the A27 to the Station roundabout; a major factor is around 30,000 vehicles travelling in and out of the Gosport peninsula each day.
The Council has set up a new air quality working group which includes councillors, experts, and representatives from local partners. Partnership working is vital to the success of the project. It is worth noting that, as a Borough Council, Fareham is not responsible for roads; this falls under the remit of Hampshire County Council. However, Hampshire and Fareham have already been working together on a £100m programme of road improvements that will include a bypass for Stubbington. Some work has already been carried out.
Cllr Seán Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: "I'm delighted to welcome the Environment Minister to Fareham. This is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work we have been doing to improve our air quality and to work with the Government towards a cleaner, brighter future. Reducing the levels of harmful vehicle emissions in the Borough is a key priority for us as it contributes to the health and wellbeing of our residents."
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: "Air pollution has improved significantly since 2010, but we recognise there is more to do which is why we have put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions.
"Local knowledge is vital to finding solutions for air quality problems that are suited to local areas and the communities and businesses affected.
"I am delighted to see Fareham taking this seriously and that discussions are underway, and I look forward to seeing firm plans for action as they develop further."
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