Government places onus on councils to curb air pollution

​The environment and transport departments have finally published their draft proposals to tackle poor air quality in urban areas. 

The plan includes local authorities in England establishing clean air zones and possibly charging drivers of older, higher-polluting vehicles to travel in pollution hotspots. 

‘It is for local authorities to develop local proposals likely to achieve the air quality limits within the shortest time possible,’ says the consultation. It states that the technical framework published alongside the consultation provides local authorities flexibility to develop schemes that work for their local areas. 

The document concedes that more towns and cities may need to implement a zone than those set out in the UK Air Quality Plan, which was published in December 2015. 

This is because data for ‘real world’ vehicle emissions taken after Volkswagen scandal to cheat emissions tests showed that Euro standards are failing to curb NO2, particularly from diesel vehicles.

Defra had sought to delay publication, claiming that meeting the 24 April deadline set by the High Court following legal action by campaign group ClientEarth would breach the purdah rules ahead of the general election on 8 June. 

These constrain the government from publishing policy documents ahead ...

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