A county environment chief has called for more action to be taken to tackle pollution in Bucks, as one in every 18 deaths in the county is blamed on poor air quality.

Bucks County Council’s (BCC) cabinet met this morning (July 9) to discuss the annual report for public health – which investigates the wellbeing of Bucks residents and provides recommendations on how to tackle ongoing issues.

Cabinet member for planning and environment, councillor Bill Chapple, praised the report however asked what action is being taken across all council services to improve air quality in Bucks.

Last year traffic black-spots in High Wycombe and Marlow were flagged as areas that needed urgent attention after it was revealed air pollution levels are more than 70 per cent above the national target.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Chapple said: “I’m afraid last year we slipped a little and I was very sad to see that. 

“I think it is hardly surprising with the amount of growth we are seeing in the county, but I think it highlights when we do have growth we need to grow something better, not something worse.

“I think the secretary of state for environment was right in saying we need to leave this earth better than we inherited it. 

“There’s a lot of things on the environmental 25 year plan that I think we should be working on.

“I was very glad to see this, but I know it is an annual report and I would like to see more meat put on it in portfolios so that it becomes part of the county council.”

District councils are in the process of formulating their local plans – a blueprint for housing growth over the next three decades.

South Bucks and Chiltern district councils’ local plan outlines where 9,150 homes will be built by 2033, while Wycombe District Council needs to allocate space for 10,925.

Leader of BCC, Martin Tett, said schemes have been launched on a national level to tackle pollution, such as more electric vehicle charging points, but added BCC can still play its part to prepare for the rise in population.

He said: “We have just heard this morning about changes to planning, such as every new house will need to have a charging point for an electric vehicle, and new lampposts will be required to have charging points as well. 

“That is a big step change, as it is becoming much more feasible to have an electric car because a lot of research shows not being able to charge an electric car is one of the big inhibitors to people actually buying them.

“There are big changes taking place, but we can play our part in that as well.”