The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued an updated quality standard on outdoor air pollution recommending that authorities assess planning applications and consider how the effects of traffic-related air pollution may affect local communities. The new quality standard recommends that local authorities should identify how they will reduce traffic-related pollution and promote zero or low-emission travel such as walking, cycling, or travel by electric cars and buses

Developers should show planning authorities that they are actively looking to protect local people from the effects of air pollution when planning big building projects. This includes assessing potential building designs and considering how buildings and other physical barriers will affect the distribution of air pollution. The new quality standard also suggests that schools and care homes should not be sited in areas where pollution levels may be high to reduce the impact on vulnerable groups.

TPS has engaged with the efforts by NICE to produce clear guidance on a range of public health topics. The annual TPS members survey highlights the importance that transport planners place on reducing the harmful effects of air pollution. Furthermore, we need to address a range of health impacts of our travel behavior, and TPS members have repeatedly highlighted our failure to deliver places where walking and cycling are the norm as the single greatest priority for our profession. As a result, TPS continues to argue for policies to address the root causes of traffic-related air pollution as well as to mitigate its harmful impacts.

In welcoming the report Lynda Addison, TPS Chair said 

“TPS remains committed to engaging with others across professional boundaries to seek practical solutions to address the causes of traffic-related air pollution. For example, we are working with transport and public health partners to ensure that revised transport guidance for the National Planning Policy Framework puts walking, cycling and public transport at the core of new developments.”

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