Draft UK air quality plan "woefully inadequate"

MQT on 2017-06-22
Session date: 
June 22, 2017
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


You described the Government's draft air quality plan as "woefully inadequate" and stated that "City Hall analysis shows that the proposals will mean air quality will be at illegal levels until at least 2026". Do you agree that the current proposals will fall short of the High Court requirement that nitrogen dioxide (N02) limit values are met, and exposure to air pollution reduced within the shortest time possible?


Answer for Draft UK air quality plan "woefully inadequate"

Answer for Draft UK air quality plan "woefully inadequate"

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I agree that the Government's draft Air Quality Plan was a deeply disappointing document and a missed opportunity. As it is currently drafted, I cannot see how the Plan will meet the requirements set down by the court that compliance with legal limit values and exposure to pollution is reduced in the shortest possible time.

However, I remain hopeful that the final Plan will include the national measures which are urgently needed. This must include:

•                    Introduce a national vehicle scrappage fund to help retire those diesel cars and vans bought in good faith as a result of Government incentives and to minimise the impact of Clean Air Zones on individuals and businesses;

•                    Reform fiscal incentives such as vehicle excise duty (VED) which continue to encourage people to buy diesel cars, contradicting the local action proposed in the Plan;

•                    Provide additional powers to me and other local authorities so a comprehensive plan can be developed which addresses all major emissions sources. These additional powers should be conferred through a new Clean Air Act which would also provide a legally enforceable right to clean air; and

•                    Follow London's example by promoting the use of ULEZ-style schemes in other towns and cities across the UK given their proven effectiveness, especially in urban areas.

If the Government were to take these steps, when combined with the bold measures I have already planned, legal compliance - and the important health improvements this represents - could be delivered in London well before the arbitrary 2025 date currently proposed.