28th August, 2013
The Government is proposing to reduce or scrap completely the need for monitoring and reporting of air pollution by local authorities.
It has issued a consultation document ‘Local Air Quality Management: Consultation on options to improve air quality management in England, July 2013’. See link.
The consultation offers 4 main options. Options 1 and 2 would lead to the demise of continued assessment and reporting at least on air pollution objectives that (the Government wrongly alleges) have been met e.g. dangerous airborne particles (PM10). Options 3 or 4 would involve scrapping Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and/or all separate Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) duties.
AEF is very concerned about the proposals and has responded to the consultation. See AEF response.
Air pollution is an important public health issue, with small particulates (PM 2.5) alone causing an estimated 29,000 deaths each year in the UK (see COMEAP report). Pollution can be high around airports, due to the combination of aircraft emissions and high levels of road traffic. The airport where this is a particularly big issue is Heathrow. When a third runway was being considered for Heathrow, air pollution was a major factor, as the Heathrow area was in breach of EU limits for NO2, set to protect human health, even without a third runway.