Is the Steering Group steering off course?
By Peter Dobbs
Following the declaration in May of an Air Quality Management Area for much of the centre of Ashbourne, a 'Steering Group' was set up. This is required by the 1995 Environment Act. The group is tasked with devising an 'Action Plan' that will reduce the illegal levels of nitrogen oxides that pollute parts of the town.
However the answers to questions put by local residents Nick Bishop and Peter Dobbs at the 22nd September Community and Environment meeting of the District Council, suggest that progress has been limited.
To date there has been just one meeting when officers of the District and County Councils met with one representative each from Ashbourne Town Council and Ashbourne Town Team. No other Ashbourne residents were involved and no hauliers or bus companies.
We now hear that a Derbyshire County Council Working Group are considering the suggestions made to date. Have the District Council handed over all responsibility to the County Council?
The next full meeting of the Steering Group is currently not envisaged to take place until almost 5 months after the last one.
With every day of exposure to air pollution having a detrimental effect on people's health, we might have expected a greater sense of urgency.