Today the government announced that Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, would be launching a new Clean Air Strategy to combat Britain’s harmful air pollution.
Matthew Farrow, EIC Executive Director, said:
The draft Strategy is right to focus on protecting public health and the target of halving the number of people exposed to PM levels above WHO guidelines is an important step in the right direction, though this must be supplemented by a ‘continuous improvement’ approach as used in Canada, given that there is no known safe limit for particulates.
We also welcome in the Strategy:
- The desire to support the creation of a world-leading air pollution control technology sector – the UK has many existing strengths in this field and we look forward to working with the Government to develop this.
- The proposals to move beyond minimum standards for industrial emissions – the ‘Best Available Technology’ approach can slow innovation and it is right that this is reviewed.
- The intention to bring in new enforcement powers to tackle air pollution, including greater powers for local authorities to regulate Non Road Mobile Machinery – something we have long called for – and making tampering with an emissions device a legal offence.
New enforcement powers however will need proper resourcing if they are to be effective.
Another area where we will be arguing for the final strategy to go further is around emissions from ports. The proposal to require major ports to develop air quality strategies is fine as far as it goes, but the EU Alternative Fuels Directive already required large ports to consider the case for shore to ship electrical power supplies to cut emissions, and there is a strong case a tougher regulatory approach in this area.