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Air Quality & Planning

Air quality is a material consideration when a development is planned. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018 includes key paragraphs relating to air quality:

  • Paragraph 180: Planning policies and decisions should also ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment, as well as the potential sensitivity of the site or the wider area to impacts that could arise from the development.
  • Paragraph 181: Planning policies and decisions should sustain and contribute towards compliance with relevant limit values or national objectives for pollutants, taking into account the presence of Air Quality Management Areas and Clean Air Zones, and the cumulative impacts from individual sites in local areas. Opportunities to improve air quality or mitigate impacts should be identified, such as through traffic and travel management, and green infrastructure provision and enhancement. So far as possible these opportunities should be considered at the plan-making stage, to ensure a strategic approach and limit the need for issues to be reconsidered when determining individual applications. Planning decisions should ensure that any new development in Air Quality Management Areas and Clean Air Zones is consistent with the local air quality action plan.
  • Paragraphs 102-104: relating to sustainable transport are also relevant.

Sussex local authorities have developed 'Air Quality and Emission Mitigation Guidance for Sussex (2013)', which provides a consistent approach to the assessment of air quality impacts from planned developments.

The purpose of this guidance is to:

  • Provide a Sussex-wide approach for assessing potential air quality impacts from development and transport related emissions and provide a consistent approach to mitigating those impacts.
  • Provide technical advice to local planning authorities on how to deal with planning applications that could have an impact on air quality.

The guidance will be reviewed and updated in light of any future national and local policy changes and feedback from users of the document. The next revision is due shortly.

The Local Planning Authority expects developments to have followed this guidance and will require an air quality assessment where it deems air quality impacts from the development may be detrimental to the environment or people's health. Furthermore all major developments will be required to produce an Emissions Mitigation Assessment, the purpose of which is to assess the local emissions from a development and determine the appropriate level of mitigation required to reduce/offset the potential effect on health and the local environment. The Sussex Guidance contains further information.

For more details you can also read the:

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