Air Quality Plan
UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.
On 26th July Defra published its new air quality plan outlining measures for tackling roadside emission of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the UK alongside the summary of responses to its consultation on this issue.
Yet again the plan has been criticised, mainly linked to the inclusion of ‘ending the sale of all conventional diesel and petrol vehicles’, 23 years off, in 2040, and the inclusion of other previously published commitments to tackle air quality. Plus, concerns that the plan might not tackle the problem as quickly as possible. Beyond the summary of previous commitments, the plan provides more details on various actions to tackle air pollution:
- Local authorities are given a leading role in tackling air pollution with government support in the way of funding – a £255m implementation fund – and provision of a national framework to support with drafting local plans. But a shorter timeframe than previously – 8 months not 18 months – has been set to deliver these plans. 29 local authorities have been required to produce plans.
- Criteria for the plans include reaching legal limits in the shortest time possible; no unintended consequences and must demonstrate value for money.
- The Government encourages local authorities to consider a range of measures such as changes to road layouts first; with restrictions and charging zones only considered where other measures are not sufficient. Innovative solutions and new technologies should be considered to support the industrial strategy.
- The measures to improve air quality will be funded through tax changes for new diesel vehicles or reprioritising of departmental budgets. Details on tax changes for diesel vehicles will be announced later this year.
- A further consultation will take place in the autumn, to aid development and assessment of options such as retrofitting, subsidised car club membership and a targeted scrappage scheme.
- Further measures will then be set out in; the Clean Growth Plan (due autumn); a further strategy on the pathway to zero emission transport for all road vehicles (due March 2018) and a wider Clean Air Strategy to reduce five key damaging air pollutants from a wider range of sources by 2020 and 2030 (due 2018).
Whether the plan is deemed ambitious or not, there are a range of additional engagement opportunities on air quality over the coming months. Through the further consultation this autumn, by engaging local authorities to support with the development of their plans, and engagement on plans for a wider Clean Air Strategy as it is developed. The link to innovative and new technologies of part of the Industrial Strategy is hugely relevant. For those with solutions for the transport sector or to tackle other sources of air pollution, the next 18 months are an opportune time.
The full Ecuity Briefing can be found here.
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