Air Quality Assessment
REC’s Air Quality Consultants were recently instructed to provide an Air Quality Assessment in support of the planning application for a proposed Primary Care Centre in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.
The proposals aimed to combine six existing doctors practices into one building centrally located within the catchment area of the existing surgeries. The development also included an ancillary pharmacy located adjacent to the health centre.
The development site was located within an Air Quality Management Area, which was declared throughout the city due to elevated pollution levels. As such, concerns were raised by Stoke-on-Trent City Council over potential air quality impacts associated with traffic generated by the operational phase of the proposals.
A desk-top study was undertaken to define baseline air quality conditions and select sensitive receptors at worst-case locations in the vicinity of the scheme. This included engaging with the environmental health department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council to identify local air quality monitoring sites and review of government databases.
A dispersion modelling assessment was undertaken using ADMS-Roads in order to quantify pollutant concentrations with and without the proposals. Two different future scenarios were assessed to consider potential uncertainties associated with traffic growth forecasts. The results of the dispersion modelling assessment were subsequently verified using local air quality monitoring data.
Conclusions of REC’s Air Quality Assessment
Although a small increase in pollutant concentrations was predicted to occur in the vicinity of the site as a result of the proposals, impacts were not considered to be significant. Additionally, the implementation of a Travel Plan was recommended as a mitigation measure to encourage visitors to the centre to use alternative modes of transport and help reduce pollution levels in the area.
The outcome of REC’s Air Quality Assessment indicated air quality should not be a constraint to planning consent.