Published: Sun, May 07, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

Britain unveils pollution report early on court order

Britain unveils pollution report early on court order

Will I have to pay to enter clean air zones?

The proposed scheme could facilitate the replacement of 15,000 Euro 1-5 diesel cars and Euro 1-3 petrol cars with EVs in 2019 with the help of an £8,000 grant.

Its chief scientist in the UK, Dr Doug Parr, says in a statement: "The astonishing thing is that the government's own plan accepts that diesel is at the root of the problem, and that phasing it out is the most effective solution".

Experts have responded to the government's new air quality plan, published today, calling it "weak" and "toothless".

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the new measures would "support businesses in building a stronger and cleaner economy".

It also said central funding for local measures like redesigning roads and improving infrastructure for walking, cycling and electric vehicles could be an option, as well as reductions to motorway speed limits and expansions to clean air zones. It is also suggesting that older vehicles are retrofitted with emission-reducing technology to be able to access the clean air zones free of charge. "Where local authorities decide it is appropriate, charging polluting vehicles to enter city centres would apply the sound conservative principle of internalising negative externalities".

For residents already living inside Clean Air Zones some exceptions will be made because "by the simple virtue of their location they not have the choice open to others of avoiding a zone when in a vehicle", the Government said.

"We expect that implementation. will take up to three years, but government will ensure the plans achieve compliance within the shortest time possible", the ministry said.

The Government is now developing a scrapping and retrofitting scheme it hopes to have ready later in 2017 that will help determine what retrofitting technologies will deliver the right emission reductions and air quality benefits for vehicles for free entry into a Clean Air Zone.

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Lucas said the government has been a "catastrophic failure" when it comes to air pollution.

A "targeted" auto scrappage scheme was included as part of the scheme, but features in technical documents supporting the main consultation paper.

CEO James Thornton said: "The court ordered the Government to take this public health issue seriously and, while the Government says that pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health, we will still be faced with illegal air quality for years to come under these proposals".

Air pollution is linked to an estimated 40,000 early deaths a year and 37 out of 43 areas across the United Kingdom are exceeding legal European Union limits for key pollutant nitrogen dioxide, much of which comes from diesel engines.

He added: "We're encouraged that plans to improve traffic flow and congestion, as well as increase uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles, will be prioritised in towns and cities".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the proposed measures as "toothless and wholly inadequate".

The government breaks down clean air zones into two categories in the plan: non-charging clean air zones and charging clean air zones. "This feeble plan won't go anywhere near far enough in tackling this public health emergency".

The consultation will run until June 31, with the final plan due to be published by July 31.

'And there's no commitment to changes to vehicle excise duty to encourage people to buy cleaner cars. The charges will penalise drivers of older diesel engines.

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