Debate on improving air quality, House of Commons, 28 June 2018

The joint Select Committee report into improving air quality is positive. The Government should consider the Committees’ warning that the support currently available to local authorities is inadequate.


Key messages

  • Keeping our air clean is the responsibility of central government. The Government’s air quality plans can be successful but they need clear leadership, sufficient funding and to be accompanied by robust national action. Councils have a role to play in helping to deliver this responsibility.
  • Local authorities welcome efforts to improve air quality, and the Clean Air Strategy highlights some of the necessary measures to do so. However, it would benefit from being more specific in many areas. We hope that the Government improves the strategy as a result of consultation and engagement with councils.
  • Recent government action to lower Nitrogen Dioxide levels has been brought about by legal challenge from the EU and environmental groups. Failing to take proactive action to limit Nitrogen Dioxide means we risk repeating mistakes of the past and ignoring the wider public health ramifications.
  • The joint Select Committee report into improving air quality is positive. The Government should consider the Committees’ warning that the support currently available to local authorities is inadequate. A properly resourced national support scheme for councils is vital.
  •  It is clear that the current powers and legislatory framework for air quality enforcement are in urgent need of updating. Some of the statutes governing the issue are decades old and not suited to tackling air pollution today. We are therefore keen that the Government’s proposed legislative changes are developed in collaboration with local government.
  • We are calling for robust national action to deliver cleaner air with support for targeted local intervention and national policy to develop a greener vehicle fleet. We would also like to see the Government give greater priority to demand management, more active travel and public transport across all policy proposals.

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Debate on improving air quality, House of Commons, 28 June 2018