The Oxfordshire Plan would support the protection and enhancement of air quality. Development would be expected to take account of:
It's impact on air quality; and
Any potential impacts of poor air quality on future occupiers/users.
Development proposals in or affecting an Air Quality Management Area would be expected to be consistent with the relevant local Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).
Major development proposals would be expected to be accompanied by an air quality assessment. Guidance would be produced to set out what information this should include. Guidance could be produced at a county-wide or local level.
Development would be expected to improve air quality wherever possible. For example, by:
a) supporting walking, cycling and public transport and reducing the need to travel;
b) supporting the uptake of zero and low emission vehicles;
c) avoiding the creation of street canyons which trap traffic pollution;
d) minimising human exposure to traffic pollution through the careful design of streets, outdoor spaces and buildings;
e) reducing emissions from buildings and other non-transport sources; and
f) providing appropriate green infrastructure.
Where it is identified that development would have a negative impact on air quality, and/or that air quality would have a negative impact on the future occupiers/users of development, a hierarchical approach to mitigation would be required:
Avoid – Consider measures to avoid negative impacts, particularly if sensitive uses or habitats are affected.
Reduce – Where it is not possible to avoid negative impacts, consider measures to reduce negative impacts. For example, through traffic and travel management, careful design and green infrastructure provision.
Offset – Where it is not possible to reduce negative impacts to an acceptable level, consider compensatory measures which take a broader view of the human health and habitat impacts within and outside the development area. This could include supporting measures in an Air Quality Action Plan or low emissions strategy where applicable.
Where possible, the Oxfordshire Plan would identify strategic opportunities to address the main sources of air pollution in Oxfordshire. This would be informed by evidence (including the AQIA). It should be noted that these opportunities might be more appropriately highlighted within other policies (for example policies within Theme Four: Planning for sustainable travel and connectivity). All policies in the Oxfordshire Plan would be aligned with the ambition of improving environmental quality, including improving air quality.
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