Thursday, 21 March 2019

Councils such as Bristol still missing deadlines to submit plans to deal with illegal levels of air pollution

Last week, there were demonstrations in Exeter over CO2 emissions:
Futures Forum: Climate change > Extinction Rebellion in Exeter

Some councillors are complaining that the effect was to create more pollution - which rather distracts from the point of the demonstrations, namely, that we need to get emissions down:
Stationary traffic from Exeter climate change protest 'still causes poor air quality' - Devon Live

Because we have to do something about the amount of air pollution:
Futures Forum: Air pollution, traffic congestion and development >>> Building a new shopping centre to the west of Exeter "would cause traffic chaos"
Futures Forum: Air pollution and over-development: Exeter and East Devon "recording high readings" of nitrogen dioxide emissions

One way to deal with it might be congestion-charging:
Futures Forum: Improving Exeter's air quality and public transport through congestion-charging

As pointed out by the East Devon Watch blog and comment: 


20 MAR 2019

And what about “funnel roads” such as that running through Sidbury and Sidford – should they have exclusions from plans for more and more polluting vehicles passing inches away from residential properties – where children and vulnerable older people live?

Could it (should it) be time to have a congestion charge for commuters to Exeter? | East Devon Watch

The Times reports on the pressure being exerted - and how the likes of Bristol are failing to live up to their obligations: 

Councils face legal threat over failure to tackle diesel fumes

Ben Webster, Environment Editor

March 20 2019, 12:01am, The Times

Dozens of councils could face legal action over delays in tackling toxic gas from diesel vehicles.

Only London and Birmingham have imposed or promised charges on the most polluting cars while other cities allow drivers to emit harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) without any fee. Many local authorities, including those covering Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle, Bath and Derby, have missed legal deadlines set by the government to submit plans to clean up their air.

ClientEarth, the campaign group that won three legal cases against the government over illegal levels of air pollution, has written to 38 councils in England and Wales warning them of the legal risk of failing to act.


Councils face legal threat over failure to tackle diesel fumes | The Times

With more details here from the transport industry: 

Councils get legal risk warning over ‘glacial’ progress on air pollution

By Natalie Middleton / 12 hours ago

Local authorities in England and Wales have received a written warning of the legal risk of inaction on air pollution after missing government deadlines to produce air quality plans.

ClientEarth says it’s not ruled out further legal action to tackle toxic air in towns and cities across the country

The warning comes from environmental lawyers at ClientEarth, which says it’s extremely concerned at the “glacial” progress of action from the 38 local authorities in question, given the urgency of the situation.

ClientEarth lawyer Katie Nield continued: “Judging by what they are telling residents, many have missed government deadlines to submit plans and some have consulted on potentially legally compliant action before scaling back proposals and delaying decisions.”

Nield added: “The courts have been clear that the UK Government is obliged to ensure plans are put in place as soon as can be, but instead ministers seem to be setting deadlines and simply watching them sail past.

“It is now almost a decade since legal limits came into place and they are still being broken in large parts of the country. Every week that goes by without action is another week where people are breathing in harmful air pollution which damages their health. This is particularly true of vulnerable groups like children.

In response, ClientEarth, which won three legal cases against the UK government over illegal levels of air pollution across the country, says it’s not ruled out further legal action to tackle toxic air in towns and cities across the country. It’s also sent the councils a briefing, which outlines councils’ responsibilities and warns that if their final proposals do not satisfy the necessary legal requirements, they will be open to legal challenge.

The organisation also said the lack of progress was the result of the Government’s flawed approach of passing the buck to ill-equipped local authorities.

Current air quality plans, published in 2017 as a result of continued legal action from ClientEarth, saw the Government backtrack on forcing charging clean air zones to be mandatory in areas – instead placing the focus on the local authorities to make the decision themselves on the quickest way to cut illegal levels of air pollution.

Nield finished: “Aside from the legal situation, this is a moral failure from politicians at all levels. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the central government to sort this out but local authorities should not be using government inaction as an excuse not to do all they can to protect people from breathing dirty air.”

Councils get legal risk warning over ‘glacial’ progress on air pollution - Fleetworld

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