The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) met with the Defra Secretary of State in-person last week to raise member issues.
Michael Lunn, public affairs advisor at EIC, met Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Westminster to personally deliver a letter on behalf of EIC members on Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) and clean fuels.
The letter highlighted the opportunity for the introduction of alternative measures to improve air quality. Mobile machinery – in construction this could be bulldozers, cranes, excavators, and mobile power generating equipment – is currently underserved with electric, emission free alternatives. These include:
- Using renewable “Drop in Fuels” such as HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) or paraffinic fuels such as “GTL”.
- Investing in retrofit emissions technology such as SCRT to dramatically reduce NOx/PM Emissions that can be fitted to existing machinery upgrading them to the latest Stage V equivalent emissions.
- Retrofitting with “Stop-Start” technology that will reduce amount of fuel being used.
Michael Lunn, said: “I explained to the secretary of state the missed opportunity for Government to encourage alternative and clean fuels as we wait for technology to meet society’s ambitions for a Net Zero economy.”
“For NRMM, there are currently few realistic alternatives, and supporting our proposals would have an immediate positive impact across the country on air pollution levels. For cities like London, which have recently introduced new air quality zones, positive steps like these are vital to meeting local ambitions for cleaner and safer air.”
In addition to this, Michael also directly discussed a number of member concerns from across the EIC ‘portfolio’ including natural capital, brownfield development, biodiversity net gain, waste management and Net Zero. Michael raised the issue of a lack of contaminated land officers to deliver brownfield housing targets – an issue identified by EIC in their latest Brownfield research.
Michael added: “Mr Eustice explained that the department would be scientifically led and that as a result things can sometimes take longer for new technology and innovation to be adopted. He confirmed however the Government plan to introduce long-term 15 year apex targets for water quality, biodiversity, waste and air quality. These will – in principle – help create additional opportunities for EIC members.
“He also shared his hopes for the introduction of biodiversity net gain targets on developments and the streamlining of waste and recycling processes for local authorities.”
EIC will update members, including members of its air quality working group, on an official response as and when it is received.
Find out more about EIC’s air quality group. Download a copy of EIC’s letter to the Secretary of State below.