Coventry air quality plan taking shape

Coventry has seen a recent uptake in people choosing more sustainable ways to travel.

As more people choose sustainable ways to travel, efforts to improve air quality in Coventry are gaining more support, reports Coventry City Council.

Councillors are praising the recent uptake in people choosing more sustainable ways to travel, with a 40 per cent increase in Coventrians cycling to work and walking to shops.

A survey found that 17% of local people intend to cycle more, and 47% expect to walk more than they did before the coronavirus pandemic.

These new figures will complement a range of schemes aimed at helping in the reductions of nitrogen dioxide levels in Coventry, without the need to introduce a Clean Air Zone (CAZ D).

A CAZ D would have affected all vehicles travelling in areas of Coventry that do not meet certain air pollution standards, with residents facing a charge to drive into vast swathes of the city.

The Council is developing a combination of measures in the area around Holyhead Road, through Spon End from Hearsall Lane to Junction 7 of the Ring Road, and on Foleshill Road – all being introduced with the intention of avoiding a CAZ D.

Coventry has been awarded grant funding of £24.5m to implement the schemes.

Coventrians have been given the chance to share their view about these scheme, most recently in response to plans to design a major cycleway between Coundon and Coventry city centre.

The feedback from recent consultations, and details of the next steps planned to cut air pollution, are being outlined in a report to Coventry councillors next week.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “Residents and businesses are opposed to the idea of a charging CAZ D and in favour of various highways and other measures to address NO2 emissions.

“That’s why these measures are now being developed in more detail.

“In recent months there has been a shift towards more active travel and at the same time, as we kick-start the economy and people need choices in how they travel, we need to get these schemes underway.

“There are already a variety of other projects happening across the city to improve air pollution.

“Just recently I met with a local business involved in the roll-out of electric charging points; and there are lots of technological innovations being developed in Coventry that will help pave the way for greater access to and use of electric vehicles.”

In February, the government wrote to the Council in support of Coventry’s proposals which set out to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions.

A legal directive from the government means that Coventry will need to submit a final full business case, which was due on 19 June but will now be the end of October – due to the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic.