The planning system has an important role to play in:

  • reducing emissions
  • improving local air quality
  • minimising exposure to harmful pollutants

Where air quality changes are expected as a result of your development, we require a comprehensive assessment of impacts and appropriate mitigation. If you're unsure what information you need to submit, please contact us.

Air quality and your planning application

We've produced a Low Emission Strategy (LES) and Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) to reduce pollutant concentrations within York's Air Quality Management Areas and to provide longer term protection of public health. All development proposals (planning applications) must be fully compatible with the aims and objectives of these documents.

Developments must prevent city wide emission growth and must not:

  • result in further significant air quality deterioration, or the need to declare further AQMAs
  • result in any increase in the number of people exposed to poor air quality in the city
  • conflict with elements of our LES or AQAP

Assessing the impact of proposed developments on air quality

Our approach to assessing air quality and emission impacts caused by your development will be site specific; we will consider:

  • the existing air quality in the area of the proposed development
  • the likely impact on local air quality as a result of the proposed development (including traffic movements and/or other new emission sources)
  • the likely impact on emissions (and magnitude of the emission damage costs)
  • the proposed measures for mitigating potential emissions and air quality changes
  • the compatibility of the development and mitigation measures with our AQAP
  • the levels of increased exposure to air pollutants by members of the public
  • design measures proposed to mitigate exposure to air pollutants (for example: distance of facades from roads, orientation of habitable rooms, provision of a ventilation strategy)

Minimising emissions during construction phases

In line with our Low Emission Strategy (LES) and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), you'll be required to demonstrate how you propose to minimise total emissions from your site during the construction and operational phases. For larger development sites, a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) must be submitted and approved by us. The plan should include appropriate measures to minimise emissions and restrict them to within the site boundary during the construction (or demolition) phases.

Minimising emissions during operational phases

The type of measures proposed to reduce air quality impacts will depend on the nature and scale of the proposed development. Mitigation measures for larger developments generally fall under the following headings:

  • Provision of Electric Vehicle Recharging Infrastructure - charging facilities for electric vehicles are now required for all developments in York that include parking (including residential developments)
  • Trip reduction measures - it is important that sites minimise trips initially through good design and then through effective mitigation. Requirements are usually established via the separate transport assessment process and packaged in the form of a site travel plan. This will cover a variety of issues such as policies that will influence active travel and public transport use and any car related initiatives, for example, car clubs, car sharing
  • On-site measures - examples may include the use of low emission service vehicles, designation of parking spaces for low emission vehicles, or an on-site fleet low emissions operation plan. The developer should consider the full raft of possible measures and select an appropriate mix, which deliver mitigation commensurate with the scale and impact of the development

In addition, developers should ensure that energy choices for heating and powering buildings are the right ones for both carbon and local air quality emissions (NOx, PM) and that low emission vehicles are promoted on the site to reduce the overall emission impact of development-related traffic

Electric vehicle recharging

If your development includes parking provision, a standard level of electric vehicle recharging provision will be required. The exact number, specification and location of recharge points should be agreed with us at the earliest opportunity.

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