DEFRA Launches Latest Air Quality Consultation
Under new proposals contained in the second part of DEFRA’s consultation on the review of the Local Air Quality Management System (LAQMS), councils in England will only be required to produce one annual report.
Under the current system introduced by the Environment Act 1995, authorities have been under an obligation to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas. DEFRA are now hoping to streamline the process by requiring councils to prepare a single annual improvement status report, the details of which will be subject to further consultation after the necessary regulatory changes are completed. The document states this form of reporting would “ensure reports are more outward facing and informative to members of the public and local stakeholders.”
It is anticipated the move would also cut down on reporting costs, including a saving of over £1.5 million on diffusion tube monitoring alone. Also up for consultation is the removal of four pollutants (1, 3 Butadiene, benzene, carbon monoxide and lead) from reporting regulations. There are currently no Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) declared for the pollutants in England. Emphasis is put on the part played by PM2.5s in the document, but there are no proposals for monitoring or modelling of particulates to become a regulatory requirement.
There will also be changes to policy and technical guidance to provide clarity on roles and responsibilities for local authorities within the consultation, which closes on January 30th.
You can download the consultation document here