Integrate action on air quality and net zero, says report

An integrated approach to tackling air quality and net zero may be the most effective way, says a new report by UK100, which highlights the benefits of the Clean Air and Net Zero (CANZ) method. 

Birmingham, Camden, Hertfordshire, Leeds and Nottingham are leading the way, according to the What CANZ be done? report published today by the cross-party network of local leaders. 

The CANZ concept, where net zero policies account for clean air policies and vice versa, was introduced in UK100’s Yes We CANZ report last June. Air pollution is known to be intrinsically linked to the climate crisis, with similar actions required to resolve both issues

Benefits of the CANZ approach includes:

– Supporting a shift away from private car use

– Using insulation and energy efficiency measures for net-zero home heating

– Working with agriculture to reduce ammonia emissions

– Empowering communities to make informed decisions with data transparency.

The CANZ approach was spoken about in parliament recently when Shadow Minister Stephen Morgan MP submitted a written question to Defra Minister Rebecca Pow MP asking if she would consider recommendations from the Yes We CANZ! report. She answered: ‘No.’

The new report will he sent to Defra along with a request for a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss how UK100 can support local leaders in incorporating the CANZ approach.

Jason Torrance, Interim Chief Executive of UK100, said: ‘Aligning Clean air and Net Zero (CANZ) isn’t pie in the sky — local authority leaders from Birmingham to Wiltshire are already taking ambitious and joined-up action to great effect.

‘But wider progress is being hampered by the government’s lack of a coherent national strategy, disjointed short-term funding and a refusal to recognise the importance of CANZ. Local leaders are ready to support the government to maximise the win-wins of an approach to vital clean air and Net Zero action that offers more than the sum of its parts.

‘We call on the Defra Secretary of State, Thérèse Coffey, or Minister, Rebecca Pow, to reconsider their refusal to consider the recommendations of UK100 members and sit down to meet with the local leaders that can set a nationwide example to follow.’

The achievements of several councils are explored in the report, such as Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ), one of the first to be implemented in the UK.

Camden has become the first council to reach WHO air pollution limits, whereas Hertfordshire’s efforts to align action on air quality and climate in multiple departments was also recognised.

Local leaders recommended a mandate on local climate action, such as a statutory act requiring progress report on clean air and net zero, and integrated policy and regulation on air pollution and climate.

They also suggested long-term devolved funding should be made available to avoid the difficulties associated with short-term, competitive pots of funding.  

Photo by Marian Proenca 


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