Defra Secretary of State Liz Truss claims that government funding for clean air zones will be made available to local authorities
Environment Secretary Liz Truss has reiterated the government’s support for the introduction of ‘clean air zones’ in five cities around England, and has claimed that funding will be available to assist councils in improving air quality.
Questioned in Parliament this afternoon by her opposite number Shadow Environment Secretary Kerry McCarthy, Mrs Truss said that the government is working with local authorities to improve air pollution.
Defra set out its strategy for addressing the UK’s non-compliance with the emission limits set out in the EU’s Air Quality Directive in December – with plans to introduce clean air zones in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton (see AirQualityNews.com story).
And, in an exchange in the House of Commons today (5 May), Ms McCarthy grilled the minister over the potential funding available to local authorities to achieve the reductions set out in the plan.
The Labour MP for Bristol East, said: “Defra’s plan says that local authority action is critical to achieving improvements in air quality. On this local elections day, will the Secretary of State tell us what resources she will provide to struggling councils to do that, given that her Department has cut payments to councils under the air quality grant scheme by nearly 80% since 2010?â€?
Responding, Mrs Truss said that the five cities marked out in the plan have ‘absolutely’ been given the powers to implement the plan for clean air zones, and said that the government would be assisting financially.
She responded: “We will also assist with funding for the five cities projected to be above the WHO limit of 40 mg of nitrogen oxide. We are working with those local authorities at the moment.
“We need to ensure the zones are in the right place so that the problem does not get moved from one part of the city to another. The resources will be available for those local authorities to put that in place.â€?