Your Councillors

Agenda item

Review of Air Quality Monitoring in Maidstone

Minutes:

Dr Stuart Maxwell, the Senior Scientific Officer, presented the Review of Air Quality Monitoring in Maidstone to the Committee.

 

It was highlighted to the Committee that:

 

·  There had been no continuous monitoring in the Town Centre since the Fairmeadow monitoring station was closed in June 2016.

 

·  A suitable location at Jubilee Church in Upper Stone Street had now been identified. The site belonged to Kent County Council who had confirmed that they were happy for their site to be used.

 

·  The establishment of the Jubilee Church site would not be immediate and therefore it was proposed that a contractor be employed in the short term to monitor air quality in Maidstone.

 

·  In addition to PM10 and NO2, the contractor would be able to monitor PM2.5 for which the Council did not have a suitable instrument to do so.

 

·  The contractor would install the monitoring station and undertake all the necessary maintenance, repairs, calibrations, and servicing.

 

·  Officers had asked several contractors to quote for monitoring air quality in Maidstone for the year. The lowest quote was estimated at £16,000 and was received from the current contractor who supplied service and maintenance for the air quality stations and so would not have to make special visits to the area.

 

The Committee requested that a further report come back to this Committee before establishing the permanent site for air quality monitoring as the data from the temporary contractor would inform decisions going forward.

 

In response to questions from the Committee, Dr Maxwell replied that:

 

·  PM2.5 are very small air particles that can penetrate the walls of lungs very easily;

 

·  There was no statutory obligation for the Council to measure PM2.5 but it was a good thing to do; and

 

·  Officers had already agreed with the contractor that there could be an option to buy the hardware at the end of the contract;

 

In response to a question from the Committee, Mr Duncan Haynes, the Mid-Kent Environmental Protection Team Leader, replied that the data handling contract for the County was re-let this year and the budget was based on the previous contract price. Therefore, it was likely that the budget would be reduced next year and so there would be no further money available to employ a contractor to monitor air quality.

 

Therefore, the Committee requested that Officers note the importance that Members attached to the monitoring of air quality in the Borough and also that every endeavour be made in future budget planning to accommodate further work.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.  That a contractor be appointed to install a monitoring station and undertake monitoring at Upper Stone Street for a period of one year.

 

2.  That a site for longer term monitoring be investigated, with the preferred site being at Jubilee Church.

 

3.  That a further report be brought back to this Committee before establishing the site.

 

4.  That this Committee asks that Officers note the importance that is attached to this and requests that every endeavour be made in future budget planning to accommodate further work.

 

Voting: Unanimous

 

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