In this blog post I continue my look at the appalling air quality in the small village of Galgate, located a few miles south of Lancaster. In the first part here, I carried out some simple air quality modelling and assessed how bad the situation could/will become if developments are continued to built at the current rate. In the second part here, I looked at an air quality assessment that was submitted with a proposal to build 50 new dwellings. In that report, DEFRA’s Technical Guidance was followed, which is far too optimistic on future vehicle emissions, and hence suggested that there would be no problems with air quality by 2017. Quite obviously the current guidance isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
In this post I will be looking at another new housing development, this time off Stoney Lane. In the image below, the badly drawn black line is the border of this new development. The Galgate Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) can also be seen, along with the Ancient Woodlands of Cockshades and Little Cockshades.
This development is almost finished, and the houses don’t look too bad, if slightly generic.
As with my previous analysis, an air quality assessment was required, but this time the local authority insisted that 2013 vehicle emission factors should be applied to the 2019 opening year. This assumes that there will not be any improvement in vehicle pollution, although there probably will be some. The real world vehicle emissions of diesels has not improved as much as expected, despite new EU Legislation. Volkswagon scandal anyone? The air quality assessment was once again written by GEM Air Quality LTD. The assessment also takes into account any committed developments that have already been given the go ahead, which is industry standard.
First off, the development is expected to generate 395 vehicle movements per day along Stoney Lane. When this development and the committed developments are included, there is expected to be an increase of 1500-1700 vehicles per day through the A6 crossroad in Galgate. This is through the AQMA. The transport data was supplied by i-Transport LLP, a firm that I’ve never worked with, although these figures do sound fairly realistic.
So what does the air quality assessment say about the air quality in Galgate in 2019. The report was written in January 2015, and a couple of months later the Institute of Air Quality Management (IAQM) issued new guidance with respect to planning and housing. Previous guidance allowed for a certain amount of interpretation, while the new guidance is quantitative, with no wiggle room. The relevant section can be seen below.
The results from the Stoney Lane development, using the new guidance, place the impacts as ‘Slight’ to ‘Moderate’. When the other committed developments are included, the impacts are ‘Moderate’ to ‘Substantial’. It doesn’t get any worse than ‘Substantial’, and my opinion is that ‘Substantial’ should be replaced with ‘Holy Sh*t’.
The air quality assessment written by GEM includes some mitigation measures for the vehicle impacts. In full, these are to plant a few trees, and the developer may want to supply some electric vehicle charging points. Completely useless.
What is interesting is that the Environmental Health Officer with Lancaster Council recommended refusal based on the air quality assessment. In my opinion this was the correct decision. Somewhere along the line, decisions were made that the health of local residents in Galgate is not as important as new housing developments. If I lived along the A6 in Galgate I wouldn’t be happy with this.
In Part IV of my series of blogs I will look at methods that could improve the air quality in Galgate.