Promoting cleaner vehicles
A seminar and Parliamentary reception to promote the combined benefits of cleaner vehicles for climate change and for public health was held on March 1st 2016 in partnership with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. A communiqué on the combined benefits and the action that should now be taken to realise them has been released. The event, with the title “Lower Carbon, Cleaner Air” was seen as the first step in a collaboration with the LowCVP on this area of the Alliance work plan. The event was marked a considerable success, with over 200 participants and much active engagement.
The next step for the Alliance will involve continuing to work with LowCVP to set out the future strategy for practical ways to embed consideration of air pollution and climate impacts into road transport policy. Please visit the Lower Carbon, Cleaner Air webpage for further information on the Communiqué and the joint initiative.
Promoting Low Emission Zones
The main thrust of the Government’s new strategy for attainment of air quality targets is to establish Clean Air Zones in which locally tailored measures to reduce emissions can be focused. The aim of the Alliance’s work in this area is to produce and promote a more complete proposal based on the work that has been done by other bodies, notably the Environmental Industries Commission, to produce a national standard for Low Emission Zones. Progress on the current workplan includes:
- An initial meeting was held with industrial partners to scope out work needed to develop a national framework of LEZs
- A meeting with Defra Air Quality officials to discuss the new national plan for compliance with EU targets for NO2
- A Response was provided to the Government consultation on the new nation plan for NO2
Raising Public Awareness
CAA-UK Steering Group members are convening discussions regarding a Clean Air Action Week. This will involve collaborations with Local Authorities and local environmental interest groups as a means of raising public awareness about poor local air quality and providing information about policy and action that people can take to help control it.
Calling for a Clean Air Commission
On 18th July, 2016 the Clean Air Alliance called for a major new initiative to tackle the health problems resulting from air pollution. In a letter to Andrea Leadsom, the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Dan Byles, the Chairman of the Clean Air Alliance, said;
“We are today proposing to you and your colleagues the establishment of a high level Clean Air Commission to create a new momentum for the urgently needed action to tackle air pollution in our cities and countryside and to clean up the air we all breathe.
Recent medical reports have demonstrated conclusively that air pollution is a major public health problem in the UK, responsible for thousands of early deaths and a great deal of ill health. There is a growing demand for more vigorous action to improve air quality.
Air pollution affects all parts of the country but is particularly acute in some of the poorest and most deprived urban areas where illness is more prevalent and life expectancy is lower. Focusing especially on the air quality problems in those areas could play a significant part in the goal of improving the quality of life for all in an equitable way.
In order to drive this forward the Clean Air Alliance is calling for the establishment of a high level Commission to create a consistent and co-ordinated plan of action and to build an effective working partnership between all the public and private sector bodies involved to implement it.
60 years ago, after the Great Smog of 1952, the Conservative Government of the day set up a high powered Commission under Sir Hugh Beaver to tackle the air pollution problems of those days. The report of that body won widespread all party support and provided the blueprint for the great Clean Air Act of 1956 – one of the more successful and lasting legacies of the Eden Government.
Our proposal seeks to emulate and amplify that success. It should create an integrated action plan to deal with today’s pollution problems, and provide the basis for any new Clean Air legislation that may be needed.”