Consultation on air quality plans to meet nitrogen dioxide limits launched
- Published on Thursday, 09 June 2011 14:09
- Posted by Scott Buckler
A consultation on a package of updated draft air quality plans that aim to meet the EU limit values for Nitrogen Dioxide NO2 in England has been launched today (9th June)
These plans will form the basis of the UK notification to the European Commission for additional time to comply with the NO2 limit values.
Government has been working with regional and local authorities on ways to meet the EU limits. The published draft plans set out current and planned actions to meet the NO2 limit values in 40 of the UK’s 43 air quality zones where our assessment shows that we exceed one or more of those values. The plans show that improvements have been made, with emission of oxides of nitrogen down by 39% between 2000 and 2009, and that 95% of UK roads assessed are currently expected to meet the NO2 limits by 2015.
Most countries across the EU face a challenge in meeting the NO2 limits in big towns and cities. More new and cleaner vehicles are expected to bring further air quality benefits and the draft plans set out work underway to explore how to accelerate these benefits. The facilitation of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) is being considered but this is not included in the consultation as work assessing their effectiveness and feasibility is still ongoing.
Defra is inviting comments on the plans for England over the next eight weeks, particularly the extent to which they correctly represent the efforts underway at national, regional and local level. There will be separate consultations by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK notification will set out the list of UK-wide measures that have reduced or are expected to reduce overall NO2 levels and will be sent to the European Commission in September. The plans for England, along with those from the devolved administrations, will form the basis of this notification which will seek, for those parts of the country where there is sufficient evidence, to postpone for up to five years from January 2010 the compliance date for the NO2 limit values. This request is permitted under the air quality directive 2008/50/EC.
Details of additional action in London to reduce particulate matter (PM10) have also been finalised today and will be sent to the European Commission. These actions are being taken by the Mayor of London, supported by £5 million of funding from Government.