Government open 10-day consultation period on the revised Air Quality Strategy

The Government have launched a consultation seeking suggestions on how best local authorities can use their existing powers more effectively to deliver improvements to air quality through a draft revised Air Quality Strategy.

That the consultation period only runs from 11th April to 21st April, has sparked criticism with UK100’s Interim Chief Executive, Jason Torrance, saying: ‘After waiting so long for the strategy, it is incredible that the Government is giving local authorities, the public and other stakeholders just ten days to respond. Action on one of the greatest environmental and public health threats of our time is urgent, but it needs to be taken with public consent and in collaboration with local leaders to be credible and effective.

‘It’s unacceptable that local leaders have been left gasping for breath as they try to respond to a strategy conferring huge new responsibilities on local authorities during a pre-election period that restricts how they can respond.’

The draft strategy outlines actions councils can undertake to improve air quality. It sets out ways they can reduce emissions of fine particulate matter and it provides ‘a framework to enable local authorities to make the best use of their powers and deliver for their communities.’

Speaking at the launch, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said that local authorities should involve local residents in the process of coming up with local solutions.

Questions posed in the consultation cover a variety of sources of air pollution, such as how best local authorities could reduce pollution from inappropriate domestic burning, agriculture and transport and non-road mobile machinery, as well as touching on the issue of indoor air quality.

Two further questions potentially put the onus back on the government to assist local authorities further:

  • Do you feel that there are additional powers relating to air quality which should be available to local authorities?
  • What further support could government provide to help with actions taken locally to tackle air quality?

Jason Torrance added: ‘The emphasis on local authority responsibilities is not aligned with necessary clear guidance or support that will allow local leaders to actually act — particularly when it comes to funding.

‘The air quality grant scheme mentioned in the strategy, for example, has only delivered £53 million of funding to local authorities in 13 years. Meanwhile, research has shown since just 2019, local authorities have spent anywhere between £27 million and £63 million on just preparing bids for competitive funding pots like the air quality grant scheme.’


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1 year ago

10 days isn’t long, is it? And as to ‘how best local authorities can use their existing powers more effectively to deliver improvements to air quality’, are we/they clear on what those existing powers are? If Ms. Pow wants local authorities to ask residents for solutions, it will need moe time for sharing of information and to discuss ideas. Mr. Torranceis absolutely right that it is not clear what local authorities are allowed to do and what they might be permitted to change, let alone where the money will come from. So muchy spent alreayd on those bids is shocking. Should I be asking my own local authority about this today? Does it apply to only England? Thank you, Paul. Please can someone tell us about how the public can join the debate and get things moved along in time? .

Jill Belch
Jill Belch
1 year ago
Reply to  chris

Only England. In scotland we already have lowest legal limits in Europe. Pm2.5 at 10 and PM10 at 18. However not as low as should be according to new W.H.O. Guidance and the problem is as above … implementation by local councils

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