DEFRA Launches Consultation on Draft Air Quality Plans
DEFRA released its latest consultation on draft plans to improve air quality on Saturday (12 September). The plans set out the action taken, being implemented and planned at local, regional and national levels to meet annual and hourly EU NO2 limits in the shortest possible time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The documents include draft plans to deal with poor air quality in the 38 zones that currently exceed the annual mean limit for NO2, taking 2013 as the base reference year. The limits set by the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive are 40μg/m3 as an annual mean concentration and an hourly concentration of 200, which is not to be exceeded more than 18 times in a calendar year.
In 2013, 17 EU member states exceeded the annual mean limit and four, including the UK breached the hourly limit. Government officials admit “the UK faces a significant challenge in meeting NO2 limits in some areas,” and that “tackling air quality is a government priority.” The consultation is looking to compile local actions taken in each of the zones concerned as and their impact on improving air quality. Consultees are also asked to provide information on actions taken in respect of non-transport sources. The consultation runs until 6th November. A separate consultation is being carried out by the Scottish Government.
You can view all of the consultation documents HERE