William Eichler 05 May 2017

Whitehall’s clean air proposals ‘passing buck’ to councils

Whitehall’s clean air proposals ‘passing buck’ to councils image

The Government is ‘passing the buck’ to local authorities with ‘weak’ proposals to tackle air pollution, environmental lawyers say.

Whitehall this afternoon published a draft plan for consultation to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK.

Ministers were forced to come up with the new proposals after the courts ruled previous plans illegal.

The Government said the options contained within the plans are designed to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles and accelerate the move to cleaner transport.

They said councils would be expected ‘to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, while avoiding undue impact on the motorist.’

Among a series of options, the Government’s plans include non-charging clean air zones, areas where targeted action can be taken to improve air quality.

‘We are continuing to study the Government’s latest air quality plan, but on the face of it it looks much weaker than we had hoped for,’ said James Thornton, CEO of ClientEarth, the legal firm that took Whitehall to court over air pollution.

‘The court ordered the Government to take this public health issue seriously and while the Government says that pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health, we will still be faced with illegal air quality for years to come under these proposals.’

‘There needs to be a national network of clean air zones which prevent the most polluting vehicles from entering the most illegally polluted streets in our towns and cities,’ he continued.

‘We fail to see how the non-charging clean air zones, proposed by the Government, will be effective if they don’t persuade motorists to stay out of those areas. The Government seems to be passing the buck to local authorities rather than taking responsibility for this public health emergency.

‘The Government has also failed to commit to a diesel scrappage scheme and this is a crucial element of the range of measures needed to persuade motorists to move to cleaner vehicles.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of HR/OD

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£60,000 circa
The role will involve working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and Chief Executive to lead our People Strategy and... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Customer Services Assistant (Libraries)

Essex County Council
Up to £9469 per annum
Please note this is part time position (18.5 hours a week) across Uttlesford, mainly based in Dunmow and Stansted and is to be offered on an initial 6 England, Essex, Dunmow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant (Libraries)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note this position is to be offered on an initial 6 month , fixed term basis. Do you enjoy working with people? Enthusiastic about playing a ke England, Essex, Saffron Walden
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Services Assistant - Mark Hall Library

Essex County Council
£17000 - £18950 per annum
Please note that this position is a part time role, offering 18.5 hours per week and is offered on a Fixed Term Basis for a period of 6 months. England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Practitioner - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Please note this is a fixed term contract or secondment opportunity until December 2020 In Essex County Council we are "Serious about Social Work". H England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores what impact the increase to the Public Works Loan Board rate have on councils’ capital schemes and why adopting AI will not just improve customer service response times for councils.

This issue also finds out how local government pension funds are backing infrastructure projects and calls on local government to get better value from its technology spend.

Register for your free magazine