“Good air quality is vital for our health and quality of life as well as the environment and councils would support a national public health campaign to raise awareness of the risks of poor air quality and the actions people can take to help tackle it."
Responding to a joint report by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit Committee, Health, and Transport Committees on improving air quality, Cllr Martin Tett, Environment spokesman at the Local Government Association, said:
“Councils are working with the Government to develop local plans to tackle air pollution. The Committee is right to recognise the unique position of individual councils to understand the causes of air quality issues in their area, which is why they need the flexibility to deliver their own plans to improve air quality in their community. This is particularly important with regard to clean air zones as well as expanded road and traffic measures.
“These local plans, developed with communities, will include a range of measures to deliver cleaner air and it’s essential they are approved swiftly by the Government, and fully funded and resourced. If the Government’s air quality plans are to be successful, they not only need to be underpinned by this local flexibility and sufficient funding but also accompanied by robust national action.
“Good air quality is vital for our health and quality of life as well as the environment and councils would support a national public health campaign to raise awareness of the risks of poor air quality and the actions people can take to help tackle it.
“Councils agree with the Committee that the 2040 target set by the Government for the end of the sale of conventionally-fuelled vehicles is too far away to tackle a public health problem that is shortening lives now. It cannot overlook the immediate measures that could have drastic improvements on public health in areas where air quality problems are at their most severe.
“National investment in roads is helpful, but with the number of cars on our roads increasing, an overarching strategy is needed to tackle rising levels of congestion. This needs to include councils outside of London also being given powers to enforce moving traffic violations to tackle congestion hotspots and improve air quality. We also continue to call on government to introduce national scrappage incentives which councils believe would encourage a shift away from diesel cars towards low emission vehicles.”