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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, responds to the Government’s new Clean Air Strategy 2019.

Ryan Shorthouse, Director of Bright Blue, said:

“The Government has introduced new targets to cut air pollutants in particular areas of the country and economic sectors, which is welcome. However, considering the growing and alarming evidence base on the harmful cost of air pollution to human health, the economy and the natural environment, the latest air strategy from Government is yet again inadequate.

Many cities in this country have not been granted clean air zones despite having illegal levels of air pollution. Germany has a national network of over 70 low emission zones. The UK Government needs to urgently establish a network of clean air zones across the country by enabling all local councils to introduce them where illegal levels of air pollution are occurring. And the UK Government should change legislation to enable local authorities to strive for reasonable profits from the administration of their clean air zones. This could yield revenue for local authorities to take further measures to make local transport cleaner, such as the introduction of local diesel scrappage schemes and more charging points for electric vehicles.”

Bright Blue recently published Clearing the air, which proposed the following:

  • Enable local and combined authorities to strive for ‘reasonable profits’ from their Clean Air Zones to fund local diesel scrappage schemes and charging points for Electric Vehicles (EVs). In 2015, the UK Government announced that a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will be introduced in Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, Southampton and Leeds to improve air quality in the 2020s, specifically through reducing levels of the air pollutant NO. These Clean Air Zones would be in addition to the one in London. Under the Transport Act 2000, and the amendments made to it under Part VI of the Local Transport Act 2008, local authorities are prohibited from setting charges in Clean Air Zones so as to be a means of raising revenues. If any profits are raised from Clean Air Zones, they must be reinvested “to facilitate the achievement of local transport policies”.