Air Quality (Bexley)

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 2nd May 2006.

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Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of air quality in the London borough of Bexley.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

Local authorities have a duty under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to review and assess the current, and likely future, air quality in their areas. Where local authorities consider that one or more of the nationally prescribed air quality objectives for each of the seven pollutants is unlikely to be met by the relevant deadline, they must declare an air quality management area (AQMA), covering the area where the problem is expected. These local authorities must then take action, along with other agencies and organisations, to work towards meeting the air quality objectives. The Mayor has responsibility for ensuring the local air quality management regime is undertaken appropriately by London boroughs.

Following the first round of reviews and assessments, the London borough of Bexley declared an air quality management area in respect of Particulate (PM10), in the Manor road area, in August 2001. In fulfilment of its obligations under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act, Bexley carried out a further assessment of existing, and likely future, air quality within the AQMA in the borough, and submitted a report to my Department in May 2003 and the Mayor of London in March 2003. The report concluded that the air quality management area as declared was still justified.

The council consulted my Department on its draft plan in July 2003, and the Mayor of London in June 2003. The Greater London Authority has asked Bexley to provide an update on its action plan.

The last round of reviews and assessments started in 2003 and London boroughs had to submit their updating and screening assessments (USA) by December 2003. They were expected to submit either a detailed assessment, where further investigation was required, or a progress report by December 2004. The London borough of Bexley submitted its USA to my Department in September 2004, and the Mayor of London in October 2004. The conclusion was that further investigation (detailed assessment) was needed at Manor road in respect of the likely exceedences of nitrogen dioxide and PM10 objectives. The Department is still awaiting a report on its detailed assessment of air quality.

The next round of review and assessments has now started and local authorities are asked to submit a new updating and screening assessment by the end of April 2006, which will be considered by my officials. My Department will be assessing the London borough of Bexley's report as part of this exercise.

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