GLA’s Environment Committee tells Defra that removal of obligation for council air quality monitoring would make it ‘impossible’ to target measures effectively
The London Assembly has joined calls for plans to remove council obligations to monitor air pollution, claiming that they could ‘undermine’ the capital’s efforts to improve its air quality.
Proposals to amend the regulations in the Environment Act 1995, removing the requirement for local authorities to regularly review air quality in their areas, have been put forward by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, in a bid to cut bureaucracy.
Labour MPs and the Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Part have also been critical of the plans (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Responding to the government’s consultation on the proposals, the London Assembly’s Environment Committee said that the loss of monitoring stations funded by local authorities would make it ‘impossible’ to target pollution measures effectively.
The Committee also told Defra it is worried about proposals to end the designation of Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) which are essential to guiding local action on pollution and implementing London-wide planning policies.
It added that the capital is set to be the deciding factor for when the UK complies with EU pollutant limits and warned that none of the options put forward in the consultation is likely to work for London or the UK as a whole.
Murad Qureshi, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: “London has the worst air quality in the country with thousands of people dying prematurely each year in the capital because of toxic airborne particles.
“Worryingly, these Government proposals could undermine measures that are currently being taken the tackle the problem and make it impossible to target action effectively. If local monitoring stations are shut down, how will we build up an accurate picture of what is happening across the capital?
“The Government needs to develop alternative plans in close consultation with the Mayor and others in the capital if it wants to clean up the air we breathe in London and across the UK as a whole.â€?
The consultation, which began in July (see AirQualityNews.com story), draws to a close today (August 30).