Urban Areas: Pollution Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th January 2021.

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Photo of Lord Truscott Lord Truscott Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to accelerate plans (1) to improve air quality, and (2) to reduce pollution, in city centres.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources in our towns and cities. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Our Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables greater local action by ensuring responsibility for tackling air pollution is shared across local government structures and with relevant public authorities. We are also strengthening the ability of local authorities to tackle smoke emissions from domestic solid fuel burning, which is a major source of fine particulate matter.

Under the Local Air Quality Management Framework, local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality and to declare an Air Quality Management Area if monitoring indicates exceedance of local air quality standards and objectives, and are then required to develop an Air Quality Action Plan to address the exceedance.

The UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations outlines how councils with the worst air pollution concentrations must take robust action to improve air quality. The plan requires local areas to produce their own plans to accelerate air quality improvement. These plans include Clean Air Zones (CAZs) which will deliver targeted action in air pollution hot spots. Bath & North East Somerset Council will introduce a CAZ on 15 March 2021 with Birmingham City Council following on 1 June 2021. We have committed a further £2.5 billion to support a number of cities improve their local transport systems through the Transforming Cities Fund - a number of these projects will help deliver air quality improvements.

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