Air pollution

Consultations launched on measures to help councils tackle air pollution

The government has launched two consultations on proposals to make it easier for local authorities to tackle poor air quality in their areas.

The first seeks views on increased engagement between councils and the communities that they serve and an increased focus on the impact of air quality on people’s health

Reduced exposure to air pollution will prevent thousands of cases of heart disease, strokes, asthma and lung cancers and will reduce health inequalities between and within communities, which is an important part of the government’s levelling up agenda.

This builds on wider action to tackle air quality, including the recent announcement of £11.6m for local authorities to deliver projects to improve air quality and the recent launch of a consultation on targets under the Environment Act, included in targets on PM2.5, the pollutant that is most harmful to human health.

The consultation will also look at the stronger requirements introduced in the Environment Act 2021 for other organisations to collaborate with local authorities in delivering Air Quality Action Plans (AQAPs).

Local authorities have a legal obligation to monitor, assess and act to improve local air quality if the objectives in their action plans are not met.

The statutory Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) guidance being consulted on will help them improve the way they do this by outlining the various elements they should consider in these plans to ensure their overall air quality objectives are achieved.

The act also gives the Environment Secretary the power to designate, subject to consultation, ‘relevant public authorities’ who must play a role in improving local air quality.

As well as this, the second consultation proposes to designate National Highways in order to ensure more consistent collaboration with local authorities to reduce road pollution.

These two measures are designed to significantly contribute to the successful implementation of AQAPs and ensure air quality standards are met in communities.

Commenting, Environment Minister, Jo Churchill said:

“Air quality is our priority and these consultations will build on a swathe of other actions that we are already taking to help local authorities clean up our air.

“We all want to see improved air quality in every part of our country, helping health outcomes and reducing health inequalities between and within communities.

“Coupled with recent funding announcements and our consultation on air quality targets under the Environment Act, we will drive forward long-lasting change to the air we breathe.”

If it is subsequently designated a relevant public authority, National Highways will have to commit to measures to help bring roads back into compliance wherever transport using a major highway has contributed to local air quality limits being exceeded.

These measures will then be included in AQAPs and the revised LAQM guidance will ensure better cooperation between local authorities and the government.

The government said this will lead to increased consideration of air quality disparities, better promotion of air quality awareness and engagement, as well as the consideration of links between air quality and climate change.

Councils have a central role in improving air quality, as their local knowledge and interaction with their communities leave them best placed to identify issues on the ground and provide solutions that are appropriate for their area, the government said.

In the government’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy, it committed to driving greater local action on air pollution by ensuring the responsibilities for improving local air quality sat with local government.

These consultations deliver on that commitment by ensuring greater cooperation at a local level and broadening the range of organisations that play a role in improving local air quality.

You can watch the full PSE365 Public Sector Decarbonisation in Association with Liberty Charge virtual event on demand here.

Developing an integrated, sustainable transport network for Nottingham

PSE June/July 22

Developing an integrated, sustainable transport network for Nottingham

Our June/July edition of PSE we bring you expert comment and analysis on a range of public sector topics, from digital transformation to health and social care and the workforce. Learn about how important ethics are in public service, or how Brighton and Hove City Council are focusing on travel and transport as we head towards a net zero world as well as so much more…


View all videos
PSE365: Public Sector Decarbonisation Virtual Event

Be A Part Of It!

PSE365: Public Sector Decarbonisation Virtual Event | 17 March 2022

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 

Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Upcoming Webinar

Net Zero Government Webinar

According to the UN's Global Waste Monitor 2020, global electronic waste (e-waste) is being called the world's fastest growing domestic waste stream. With 1.6 million tonnes of e-waste produced in the UK in 2019, the UK is on track to becoming the biggest e-waste producer in Europe per capita.

With the public sector under increasing pressure to reach net zero by 2050 and data security threats on the rise, what can leaders do to minise the risks to citizen and organisational data while becoming more sustainable?

Register now and join us on 12 May at 2pm - 2:45pm to find out how the sector can take positive steps to reach net zero targets through sustainable data sanitisation.

More articles...

View all