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Draft Clean Air Strategy

Last summer, the Government published plans for reducing roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the UK. The draft Clean Air Strategy outlines the Government ambitions for reducing pollution from a wide range of sources, making the air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy.

Objectives of the consultation

The draft strategy sets a direction for future air quality policies and goals, and sits alongside three other important UK Government strategies: the Industrial Strategy, the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan.

In this consultation, the Government sought views on the actions being proposed to reduce air pollution and its effects, and on each of the main themes of the strategy document:

  • the understanding of the problem
  • protecting the nation’s health
  • protecting the environment
  • securing clean growth and innovation
  • reducing emissions from transport
  • reducing emissions from farming
  • reducing emissions from industry
  • international, national and local leadership

This consultation closed on 14 August 2018.

The responses received will inform the final UK Clean Air Strategy and detailed National Air Pollution Control Programme to be published by March 2019.  

Supporting papers

To download the consultation document, please follow the link below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE welcomes this consultation and the Government’s intent to protect the nation’s health and to show leadership on air quality. CIBSE supports a number of measures proposed in the consultation, however,  the Institution has a strong concerns about the overall targets, commitments, and the package of measures:

  • There should be a firm commitment to align ambient air quality objectives with World Health Organisation guidelines, with clear mechanisms to review and report on progress. It is difficult to reconcile ambitions for world leadership when the UK’s ambient air quality objectives do not align with the WHO, or indeed even with EU objectives.
  • There needs to be strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, including powers from the upcoming environment body over central departments and all public authorities, and adequate resources to local authorities.
  • There is currently no comprehensive regulatory framework on indoor air quality, and poor implementation of the few guidelines related to pollutant levels in Building Regulations Approved Document F. CIBSE strongly recommends this should be reviewed, including a review of Building Regulations Part F to incorporate indoor air quality requirements. This would also align with amendments of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which the UK has committed to implement despite exiting the EU.
  • A more comprehensive set of solutions is needed, with a focus on solutions that address pollution at source and those that offer multiple health, wellbeing and environmental benefits; in particular this should include built environment planning to promote cycling and walking and reduce transport needs, and the incorporation of green infrastructure from the local to the regional levels. Government support to modelling, monitoring, research and innovation should be aligned with these priorities, including: assessing the impact of transport policies on pollution levels and transport patterns, understanding what can drive behaviour change in consumers, and assessing the influence of urban form and trees on air pollution levels; this in turn should inform guidelines to policy-makers and professionals.

CIBSE believes these recommendations align with the WHO and with the views of other professionals from the built environment, research, and public health sectors.

To read the full CIBSE response, please follow the link below.