Air Pollution and Road Traffic

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent traffic congestion and air pollution from rising above pre-COVID-19 levels.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State

Air pollution poses one of the biggest environmental threats to public health. Our ambitious plans to decarbonise transport, improve air quality and support more active forms of travel have not changed, including the £3.8 billion we are already investing to clean up our air. Our recent rapid call for evidence will ensure we can fully understand the impact that coronavirus is having on changes in air pollution emissions, concentrations and exposure.

The decision to manage congestion in towns and cities is ultimately one for the relevant local highways authority, and they are considering a range of measures to encourage and retain active travel. To support this, on 9 May the Government announced a £2 billion package of funding for active travel over the next 5 years from the £5 billion buses, cycling and walking funding announced by the Prime Minister on 11 February.

Local authorities already have a range of powers to take action to reduce pollution from road vehicles. Through the Environment Bill we are improving co-operation within the Local Air Quality Management framework to widen the range of bodies that play a role in improving local air quality, including neighbouring local authorities and relevant public bodies, ensuring action is taken by all key players to tackle pollution sources and to improve air quality locally.

Additionally we are working hard to implement our World leading Clean Air Strategy, which focuses on reducing broader emissions beyond road transport.

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