A document providing guidance and advice to maintain and improve the air quality across northern Devon has been given the go-ahead by North Devon Council.

At a meeting of the council's Strategy and Resources Committee on Monday (1 June), councillors agreed to adopt its first Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The SPD looks at how new developments could affect air quality adversely, the type and scale of development proposals which would require an air quality impact assessment and if so what it should include.  It clarifies the process of assessing air quality when making a planning application and how potential air quality impacts need to be addressed.  

The need for an air quality SPD for northern Devon was identified in the 2016 Braunton Air Quality Action Plan which aims to tackle air quality issues within the village.

Lead Member for Economic Development and Strategic Planning Policy at North Devon Council, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: "Adoption of the SPD follows a public consultation on the document last year. All the responses received were considered and the document amended to reflect the representations.  A lot of hard work has gone into the preparation of the document so I'm pleased that we have been able to adopt it."

Ward member for Braunton East at North Devon Council and Chair of Braunton Parish Council, Councillor Liz Spear, says: “On behalf of the residents of Braunton, I am delighted that the air quality planning document has now been approved.  This is an invaluable tool to tackle the very real health threats of air pollution. These threats cannot in any way be over-estimated.  We must do all we can to overcome them. This planning document is a living document and can be expanded and improved upon and will go a long way towards mitigating the terrible effects of air pollution.”

The SPD has been prepared by North Devon Council alongside officers and councillors from Torridge District Council to supplement new policies contained in the joint North Devon and Torridge Local Plan.  The document will also be considered for adoption by Torridge District Council in the near future. Once adopted by both councils it means all future planning applications across northern Devon will need to be considered against it before making a final decision.

The SPD and Braunton Air Quality Action Plan are available to view on the North Devon Council website.