Housing: Air Pollution

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th June 2022.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to support local authorities to limit domestic sources of air pollution, including wood burning stoves, as the leading cause of the air pollutant PM2.5.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Local authorities have a number of powers to tackle air pollution, such as introducing speed restrictions including on school streets, enforcing anti-idling laws and environmental permitting to reduce emissions from many local industries.

On domestic sources of air pollution and specifically domestic burning, local authorities have the power to declare Smoke Control Areas (SCAs), where householders are not allowed to emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney. The recently introduced Environment Act makes it easier for local authorities to enforce SCA requirements by replacing the criminal offence applying to smoke emissions in SCAs with a civil penalty regime. Local authorities in England can now issue financial penalties of up to £300 to those emitting a substantial amount of smoke from their chimneys in an SCA. The Environment Act also extends the system of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act to private dwellings in SCAs, enabling local authorities to take action against smoke emissions that are harmful to human health.

To further support local authorities, we have also provided £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local nitrogen dioxide (NO2) reduction plans and to support those impacted by these plans. We also have awarded £11.6 million from Defra's annual Air Quality Grant Scheme to 40 local authorities in England for local projects to tackle air pollution. The scheme will reopen for applications later this year, building on more than £38 million investment so far since 2010.

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