West London council set to lobby government as waste sites contribute to breach air quality standards, writes Amy North.
The London borough of Brent is set to lobby the government to raise awareness of the challenges of implementing waste licensing controls whilst achieving air quality targets.
The move was revealed in an updated Air Quality Action Plan 2012-15 which was published by the council on Monday (May 21) following a meeting of its Executive Committee.
It comes as an air monitoring site in the borough, located near a number of waste depots, has reported air which is continuing to breach air quality standards.
On April 10 London Air, an organisation run by King’s College, revealed that the council was host to the first site in London this year to breach the PM10 Objective under the National Air Quality Strategy (see airqualitynews.com story).
A report from the council’s director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services, which was circulated at the Executive meeting on May 21, states: “The levels of PM10 measured at Neasden Lane associated with waste management activities undertaken at Neasden Goods Yard continue to breach the daily mean air quality objective.
“This is of national significance as it is only one of a few sites in the country reporting such exceedences and may lead to sanctions from the European Union in future. This is locally significant since we estimate that fine particulates have an impact on mortality equivalent to 133 premature deaths across the whole of Brent.â€?
The report continues: “The regulatory and enforcement regime used to licence the operator has proven to be ineffective in requiring commercial operators to upgrade environmental controls as waste operations and the requirements of the European Air Quality Directive have both changed. Officers are recommending that the council lobby central government to bring the regulation and enforcement regime up to date in order to make it more effective.â€?
The council’s updated Air Quality Action Plan, which was first adopted in 2005, integrates air quality with climate change measures whilst identifying additional opportunities for emissions reductions for both the council and local businesses.
The council said the Action Plan was designed to help reduce levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM10), which are key pollutants that contribute to health concerns in the borough.
It comprises of 15 actions which are segregated into four main themes: transport measures; commercial measures; community measures; and, development measures.
Notably, the plan includes measures to review planning policies to safeguard against environmental impacts of new and existing waste facilities and developing a strategy to ensure all proposed energy-from-waste (EfW) plants have a minimal air quality impact whilst achieving a 20% carbon reduction from renewables.
The Action Plan states: “[the council] will seek to ensure that further development of waste infrastructure does not result in more pollution in Brent. This will be achieved by continuing to strengthen and deepen our working relationships with the Environment Agency, Defra and the GLA as well as lobbying for improvements in the relevant licensing.â€?
Elsewhere the council seeks to tackle pollution from vehicles by facilitating the delivery of new car clubs within the borough whilst reducing congestion associated with new or proposed traffic management schemes.