Tackling air pollution should be 'enshrined as a main objective' of future infrastructure plans in the forthcoming Spending Review, according to a leading localist think tank.
Localis argued that local areas with both few resources and air quality issues should be given a special focus, highlighting places such as Hull (pictured) and Stoke-on-Trent, which experience air pollution but lack the resources to fully respond.
On a pan-government basis, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) should 'pool and align their combined policy capacities' to provide a boost for electric and low-emission vehicles.
The calls come in a new report ‘A Modern Transport Infrastructure Strategy’, which also suggests that strategic authorities - such as combined authorities or county councils - should explore new methods to bring in long-term funding for infrastructure.
This includes pool-funding with neighbouring strategic authorities and using local tax-setting powers – including business rates, council tax as well as new levies such as payroll and tourism taxes.
Jonathan Werran, chief executive at Localis, said: 'To break the [infrastructure] logjam, a positive case must be made for creative as well as sustainable approaches to financing the common physical assets upon which both our own and future generations will rely upon to connect people to places.
'Local leaders must take a punt on clean growth using all means at their disposal - fiscal, economic and regulatory - to deliver world class infrastructure to their areas. But without the allocation of sufficient central government resources and the coherent connection of disparate Whitehall policy strands, we risk leaving left-behind areas further behind.'
Localis also recently released a groundbreaking study into the electric vehicle market, arguing for more powers and vision from local government in leading this crucial, quickly expanding sector.