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Clean Air Strategy among Defra priorities

Defra has reiterated its commitment to publish a clean air strategy setting out measures to tackle air pollution from a wide range of sources, among other policy priority areas.

The Department has this week published its single departmental plan, outlining a series of commitments and priorities for future policy work on the environment.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Among the commitments is the publication of a Clean Air Strategy, which the Department says would cover five major pollutants, including Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), fine particles (PM2.5) and ammonia (NH3).

NO2 Plan

The strategy would complement existing policies set out in the government’s Nitrogen Dioxide air pollution plan for England, which was published in July. The NO2 plan identified 29 local authority areas where actions are required to reduce concentrations of NO2 to bring the UK in line with the 40 µgm3 EU limit value for the pollutant.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has suggested that the Strategy will be published in 2018, and will deliver ‘clean air for the whole country’ (see airqualitynews.com).

Outlining his intention to publish a wider air quality strategy in the summer, the Environment Secretary said: “Improving air quality is about more than just transport, so next year we will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy. This will set out how we will address all forms of air pollution, delivering clean air for the whole country.”

Top of the list of priorities set out by the Department is a pledge to deliver a “smooth and orderly Brexit” and to ensure that there is no gap in the regulatory and delivery frameworks for environmental laws.

Defra will take an “active role” in the negotiating process for the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the new relationship with the EU, the negotiations around fisheries, trade agreements with third countries, and the UK’s schedule at the World Trade Organization, the Department has said.

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