Government rejects calls for action on school air quality

 

The Coalition Government has rejected calls for a diesel vehicle tax to combat pollution but will consider implementing a national network of low emission zones, it has emerged.

It has also refused to bring in extra protection for school children through additional planning guidance.

With tens of thousands of deaths attributed to air pollution, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee last year raised the pressure on ministers to better protect members of the public through planning amendments and new levies.

However a swathe of recommendations including an explicit air quality remit for the new Strategic Highways Company, Highways England, and further National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) guidance to protect schoolchildren from pollution hotspots have now been dismissed by the Government.

Ministers said that there were currently no plans to subsidise diesel vehicle owners to retrofit their engines or launch a national diesel vehicle scrappage scheme, but added that measures would be investigated for inclusion in new national air quality plans at the end of 2015.

The Government outlined that it saw ‘effective ventilation’ of buildings and schools ‘a preferable strategy’ to reforming the NPPF to block construction of any new schools, care homes or health clinics near high pollution areas. Ministers said they did not consider ‘there is a need for additional planning guidance or Building Regulations given the current level of protection’.

In its response, the Coalition also said it did not support the idea of an independent public inquiry into air pollution and claimed it was already working with organisations to ‘ensure a consistent approach to air pollution’.

However the Government admitted it was now reviewing air quality plans and the deployment of low emission zones on an individual and national basis.

Environmental Audit Committee chair, Joan Walley, said Coalition ministers had ‘once again failed to face up to the problem’ of air pollution ‘and instead passed the buck on to the next Government’.

‘We have been warning that urgent action is needed for the last five years and while this Government has accepted that there is a problem it has repeatedly failed to take the tough decisions necessary to sort it out,’ Ms Walley added.

‘It remains unacceptable that a whole generation of children growing up in our polluted cities will have their health and development impaired by the illegal levels of air pollution.’

Commenting on the Government announcements, Sustrans health director Philip Insall, said: ‘With over 28,000 deaths attributed to air pollution every year, this half-hearted response completely fails to deal with this hidden health crisis.

‘Local toxic air pollution, causing all those premature deaths, is primarily due to emissions from motor traffic. It is clear that we can only address this by reducing reliance on motor vehicles and by scrapping the perverse incentives that have encouraged more people to use diesel instead of petrol.’

 

Also see

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Senior Team Leader

Redbridge London Borough Council
£35,992 to £38,994 per annum inclusive
Looking for individuals with initiative, evidence of experience in managing a street cleansing service and motivating... Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Information Management Officer x 2 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £26,317
Looking for better and smarter ways to operate and you will play a key role working across a broad range of service... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Graduate Engineer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
This is an exciting new opportunity in the Highway Services team to play a pivotal role in creating a safe and... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Chief Fire Officer

West Sussex County Council
Competitive Salary plus Financial Support for Recruitment and Retention
We are looking for an exceptional individual who can lead our Fire & Rescue Service Chichester, West Sussex
Recuriter: West Sussex County Council

School Crossing Patrol

Brent Council
£21,591 - £22,377 p.a. inc. pro rata.
Looking for someone that is friendly, has great communication skills and enjoys working with children. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Engineer (Highway Design)

Darlington Borough Council
£31,371 - £33,799
Looking to employ an experienced person within the Highway Design team to meet the challenge of enabling development... Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council

Project Manager – Major Maintenance and Infrastructure Projects 

Liverpool City Council
£42,683 - £47,491 
The successful candidate will ensure that effective procurement and delivery of highways maintenance and improvement. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Green Space Development Manager

Camden London Borough Council
£45,504 - £52,786
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Green Space Project Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£40,829 - £47,360
The successful candidate will join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team and contribute to our commitment to deliver for the people of Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Senior Principal Planning Officer - Fixed Term

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39.774 - £42.684
Looking for key members of the team that will be instrumental in transforming the Borough and opportunities available for residents.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planner

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27228 - £36711
In this role you will deal primarily with small-scale planning applications covering a wide range of planning issues. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Career Grade Planning Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27.228 - £36.711
We offer a great opportunity to develop your career with a positive approach to development and a desire to put... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Director of Place and Communities

Ashfield District Council
£79,070
As the Director for Place and Communities you will provide strategic and operational leadership across a range of key services including Waste... Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Ashfield District Council

Highways Operative - 3 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£18,426 - £21,166 (plus 20% enhancement if working in the night team)
You will be responsible for providing effective maintenance and development of the Kirklees road network carrying out a range of highway works. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Rights of Way Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£26,470 - £28,221
The purpose of the role is to implement and advise on the maintenance, protection, improvement and promotion of access... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£11.41 - £12.35 per hour
Are you passionate about Road Safety, and want to help educate road users and develop their skills? Wrekin, Telford
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
As an Engineer, you will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects to... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Inspector / Senior Inspector

City of Bradford MDC
£21,166 - £31,371 pa
This is an opportunity to join the Highway Maintenance team who have responsibility for maintenance of around 2,000km of adopted road network. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Head of Highways Infrastructure

Leeds City Council
£72,397 - £79,637
Seeking an exceptional candidate for the position of Head of Highways Infrastructure to lead on the authority’s duty to... Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Leeds City Council

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council