NSCA provides guidance on development control

The latest guidance document from environmental protection society, NSCA, on the interactions between development control and air quality management, was launched at their Air Quality Update seminar, at the NEC in Birmingham, in November. The guidance, which has been in development since September 2003, is aimed at providing a more systematic and consistent approach to air quality in development control decisions.

"Over the past few years, we've seen real progress in the integration of air quality issues into other key policy areas, such as transport and strategic land use planning. However, development control has been throwing up some specific problems which the current guidance wasn't addressing. The need for this guidance was stressed by many air quality professionals concerned at the low profile of air quality in development control, and the inconsistencies between different local authorities," says NSCA's Tim Williamson.

The guidance covers a number of key areas including:

  • Dealing with planning applications
  • When to request air quality assessments and what should be in them
  • How to assess the significance of air quality impacts, using a new approach developed for the guidance
  • How planning recommendations can be developed
  • How to deal with low polluting developments in areas of poor air quality; and
  • How to address cumulative impacts.
  • However, the NSCA says that, while the guidance has been written specifically to help local authorities, it will not provide all the answers. "No generic guidance of this sort can deal with all the local issues which crop up" says Mr Williamson, "but it will at least show approaches which can be taken. The key is to develop good lines of communication between professionals, generate understanding of common problems, and to have strong local policies in place." In line with NSCA's previous five guidance notes on local air quality management, the guidance was developed by a working group of experts from a range of backgrounds, led by UWE's Nicky Woodfield and NSCA's Tim Williamson.

    Free to LAs

    It is being sent out free to all first tier local authorities in the UK, with additional hard copies available for sale

    . A copy is also available for download (in PDF format) from the NSCA website - http://www.nsca.org.uk/assets/aq_dev_ control_guidance.pdf.

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