A plan to improve the borough’s air quality has been approved.
On Thursday, Wigan Council’s cabinet approved Wigan’s Air Quality Policy and reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining a good standard of air quality through sustainable transport, policy, and education.
The policy sets out the steps the council will take to improve air quality including:
- Continue the monitoring of air quality across the borough and take action where improvement is needed
- Promote sustainable transport and healthier lifestyles including walking and cycling instead of driving for short journeys
- Encourage residents and staff to use lower emission or electric vehicles and turn engines off while stationary
- Ensure air quality is considered in any future decision making
- Continue working closely with Transport for Greater Manchester and the nine councils in Greater Manchester to implement the city region air quality strategy
The council has already taken measures to improve air quality and reduce vehicle emissions including supporting schools and businesses with travel planning.
Council staff are encouraged to work flexibly from a location that suits them, to reduce the number of cars and journeys, and has dedicated car sharing parking bays to encourage staff to travel together.
Poor air quality is linked to inner urban areas which are close to roads. The council is currently implementing a cycle scheme in and around Wigan town centre to encourage residents who live or work close to the centre to travel by bike instead of using the car.
Councillor Joanne Marshall, lead member for Greener Wigan, said: “The quality of the air we breathe is an integral part of the health and wellbeing of our communities. As part of The Deal, whilst the council is committed to growing the economy, we recognise the impact this could have on air quality and so it is essential we take steps to tackle it.
“This policy sets out our commitment to work with partners and with residents to improve the air quality of our borough and ensure a cleaner, greener Wigan for future generations.”
The council’s Air Quality actions contribute to the Greater Manchester Air Quality Action Plan, along with Transport for Greater Manchester and the nine other GM councils, to collectively work together to reduce the emission of pollutants and improve air quality.
The key priorities across Greater Manchester are to reduce traffic by encouraging modal shift from private vehicle use to public transport, cycling and walking and to increase efficiency of traffic movement by reducing congestion and stop-start travel to achieve a smoother emissions profile and overall lower emissions, especially at peak hours.