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Pollution plans ‘unfair’ on local authorities
Pollution in London, UK ©David Holt

Pollution plans ‘unfair’ on local authorities

15/06/17Environment

The UK government is to relinquish the responsibility of handing air pollution on to local authorities, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has suggested.

An outline plan on how to address air pollution was published in May, following pressure from the courts.

Tony Lewis, head of policy at CIEH, said: “The government’s proposals are inadequate [in order] to tackle air pollution and place too much responsibility on the shoulders of over-stretched local authorities.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove will be responsible for concluding which will be the best approach to meet the proposed changes.

In November 2016, the High Court told Westminster that the existing air quality plan was not fit for purpose and ordered the publication of a draft scheme.

An analysis by Friends of the Earth says that the government’s data shows that 58 local authorities across the UK will still have illegal levels of air pollution in 2019 without further action being taken.

Jenny Bates of Friends of the Earth said: “Without further action, London would still have illegal air in 2030, Birmingham and Leeds until 2026, and 58 places until 2019.”

Such campaigners say that sufficiently funded, clean air zones which impose charges on pollutant vehicles should be introduced by the end of 2018.

However, Nick Lyes from the RAC said: “We need a programme of replacing or retrofitting ageing bus and taxi fleets with cleaner engines, especially in towns and cities which are breaching air pollution limits.”

The RAC says that no-idling zones could be introduced immediately, whilst long-term efforts should be made to encourage drivers to switch to low-emission vehicles.

Pan European Networks Ltd