The Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health, and Transport Committees published their joint inquiry into improving air quality. Below is a summary of the recommendations that the Committee has put to Government. The Government is now set to respond.
Treasury must take greater account of the costs of air pollution when establishing taxation and spending policy. Combine policies to produce a single instrument that delivers on both NO2 and particulate matter. (Paragraph 100).
Include a revision of Vehicle Excise Duty rates to better incentivise both new purchases and support the second-hand market. (Paragraph 101).
Government should consider mandating charging zones in hotspot areas – Local Government Association (LGA) stated that Local Authorities did not want to be mandated.
Criticised that Defra’s technical report found that charging zones offer the fastest and most effective route to air quality improvements, yet the 2017 plan requires councils to demonstrate that all other measures will fail to achieve necessary results before introducing a charging zone.
Government’s target to end new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is insufficient and should be sooner. (Paragraph 113). This should be mandated on manufacturers.
Adoption of ULEVs are to soon and Joint Committee does not believe Government targets will be met.
A national scrappage scheme may help speed up adoption of ultra-low emission fleets. ‘Any scrappage scheme must be accompanied by a suite of additional measures’. Not stand alone. Must include provisions to support low-income drivers and small businesses.
Government should focus on reducing vehicle use and encouraging public transport use where practical. ‘There is not enough urgency in the Government’s current strategy to achieve this.’
Government should to continue to meet EU standards on clean air and clarify whether it will adopt World Health Organization air quality guidelines.
A new Clean Air Act should be made into primary legislation and should ‘achieve the widest possible health benefits by adopting World Health Organisation targets’ into UK statute.
Require automotive industry to contribute to a new clean air fund – “polluter pays” principle
Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), should ensure Ministers and Departments consider air quality in policy development. JAQU’s remit should be extended, to include tracking spending and should scrutinise policies.