DEFRA Forced Back To The Drawing Board On Local Air Quality Management
Plans to cut local air quality monitoring and scrap Air Quality Management Areas have been left in ruins after the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation on the move led to objections by 200 local authorities and a host of pressure groups.
232 replies were received to July?s consultation document, but none of the four proposals put forward received enough support to justify them being adopted. The proposals included DEFRA?s preferred option, which would have seen councils only required to report on air quality in areas that exceeded national limits, while 520 Air Quality Management Areas in England would have been scrapped.
Local authorities and environmental campaigners stated that the changes would have a devastating impact on air quality in the UK. Maria Arnold of the pressure group Health Air is delighted that the government has been forced into a U-turn, saying, ?Overwhelming public pressure has forced the government to rethink plans to scrap local authorities’ duties to monitor air quality. Their original proposal would have had devastating impacts on air quality and health, but a backlash from thousands of members of the public and local authorities has sent a strong message that they can’t solve our air quality crisis by turning a blind eye.?
A fresh consultation containing new proposals will now be launched in mid to late 2014.
A summary of consultation responses and the government reply can be found at:?https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/265819/laqm-sum-resp-20131213.pdf