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Specialists in Logistics & Transport Law - Call 01254 828300

The air you breathe: UK air quality plan published

On 26 July 2017 the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, along with the Department for Transport announced its  plan to help reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

The plan includes an end to the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 and a new Clean Air Fund. 

It sets out how councils with the worst levels of air pollution at busy road junctions and hotspots must take robust action.

Air quality in the UK has been improving in recent years, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants, and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels down by half in the last 15 years.   Despite this, an analysis of over 1,800 of Britain’s major roads show that around 4%  of these  are due to breach legal pollution limits for NO2.  Evidence indicates that poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK.  It is estimated to have cost the country up to £2.7 billion in lost productivity in 2012. 

Local areas will be expected to produce initial plans within eight months and final plans by the end of next year.  The Government will help towns and cities by providing £255 million to implement their plans, in addition to the £2.7 billion it is already investing.

Local authorities will be able to bid for money from a new Clean Air Fund to support improvements which will reduce the need for restrictions on polluting vehicles. This could include changing road layouts, removing traffic lights and speed humps, or upgrading bus fleets.

The government will also issue a consultation in the autumn to gather views on measures to support motorists, residents and businesses affected by local plans.  This is likely to cover things like retrofitting, subsidised car club memberships, exemptions from any vehicle restrictions, or a targeted scrappage scheme for car and van drivers.

For more information on how this might affect your business, please call a member of our regulatory team on 01254 828300.

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