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ADEPT response: Defra consultation on its Clean Air Strategy

13 August 2018

ADEPT has responded to the DEFRA consultation on Clean Air Strategy. The full response is available here:

Some of the key messages are: 

  • Post-Brexit, the Government must ensure that there is no reduction in legislation, standards and funding for air quality – as per our recent response to the consultation on environmental principles and governance, ADEPT called for ‘non-regression’ to be added to the list of statutory environmental principles that the Government is proposing.
  • Government needs to provide a ‘joined up’ approach to air quality so that key investment and infrastructure decisions taken by the big spending departments – Transport, Housing, Defence – take account of the need to reduce air pollution.
  • Air quality must be taken into account, not just in infrastructure, but also the delivery of services – the post-Brexit procurement regime must allow and encourage local authorities and other public bodies to require contractors to use low emissions plant and vehicles.
  • Local strategies must focus on the ‘hot spots’ where NO2 exceedances are greatest and where transport emissions need to be reduced most.
  • Place Directors and planners must work with Public Health to create environments that promote active travel and public transport to generate air quality and health benefits.
  • If local authorities are to be expected to play a greater role in tackling air pollution it is important that they are given the powers and funding to do so, any new duties need additional resources to cover the full cost.
  • In two-tier areas, there is a strong case for giving county councils (as transport and public health authorities) the lead role and a duty to co-ordinate the actions of other agencies, as with the Lead Local Flood Authority role established in 2010.