Venue: Meeting Room 1, Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon, OX14 3JE
Contact: Emily Barry, Democratic Services Officer 07717272442
Apologies for absence
To record apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Andrew Skinner and Val Shaw.
To adopt and sign as a correct record the General Licensing Committee minutes of the meeting held on 17 May 2023.
RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meeting held on 17 May 2023 as a correct record and agree that the Chair sign these as such.
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and non-registrable interests or any conflicts of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Urgent business and chair's announcements
To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair.
To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak.
There were no registered speakers.
To consider the report of the Head of Housing and Environment in relation to the adoption of the council’s new joint Air Quality Action Plan.
The Environmental Services Manager introduced the report to the committee. He advised that the Joint Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) represented a significant step forward for communities and included a number of measures to improve air quality. The plan was the result of successful engagement with air quality partners (Oxfordshire County Council and Highways England) and encompassed a wide range of key areas including the promotion of public transport, the review of options to reduce freight emissions, the promotion of cycling and the development of options to reduce traffic emissions within specific Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA). The Environmental Services Manager advised that the plan had been compiled in line with strict technical guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and sought to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the council’s declared AQMA’s, those being Abingdon, Botley and Marcham.
The committee enquired as to whether there had been any discussions around a freight centre further to what was contained in the plan. The Environmental Services Manager confirmed there were as yet no details and that this would form part of the broader transport plan being developed by the County Council.
The committee asked how low emissions zones worked. Officers confirmed these were designed primarily for larger cities and were not viable in smaller market towns. They confirmed that in Marcham, Oxfordshire County Council was carrying out some optioneering to relieve air quality issues in the village’s pinch point on Packhorse Lane, linked to the Frilford Junction work.
The committee enquired as to when the Annual Status Report (ASR) would be produced and who the audience was. The Team Leader (Environmental Protection) confirmed that the reports were sent to DEFRA at the end of June each year. The report was then published on our website in September or October (after being approved by DEFRA). Members asked that there was a raised awareness of these reports and officers agreed to provide a link to the relevant webpage.
Further AQ information was also available on the relatively new County wide AQ website: www.oxonair.uk
The committee asked officers to explain the consultation responses received, particularly those from residents of Abingdon who seemed concerned about no longer being in an AQMA. The Team Leader (Environmental Protection) informed the committee that being in an AQMA was not a positive thing but that monitoring continued regardless of being within one of the AQMA’s or not.
The committee then went on to ask what specific actions were being taken in relation to Botley and Marcham. Officers advised that details of actions could be found on page 65 - 69 of the agenda pack. Officers noted the actions as set out and advised that Botley was a difficult area to tackle and they were liaising with National Highways on their potential solutions.
Members asked how the Vale compared to other districts. Officers advised that the Vale was clean in comparison to others and there were only a couple of hotspot areas. Air quality had been ... view the full minutes text for item GL13