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February 2017 Headlines


Big project planning by Agency

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has formally become a government agency taking on more policy significance than hitherto had been expected.

Aviation NPS released

As AQB was about to the printed, the NPS on aviation was released. This pledges to re-examine air quality at Heathrow. More next month.

Westminster targets diesels in street bays

Westminster is to pioneer a surcharge for diesel cars using its on street parking bays.
It is believed to be the first to introduce the charge for public parking. Other boroughs such as Islington charge more for residents parking permits for diesel vehicles – Westminster’s charge is for casual parkers and does not apply to residents.

Housing buyback?

The latest Clean Air for Cornwall Strategy has mooted the idea of buying up houses on the A38 in Tideford to reduce excess exposure.

Sheffield limit?

There remains confusion as to whether air quality-related speed limits remain a possibility to reduce pollution on the M1 near Sheffield.

Guidance updated

IAQM/Epuk has updated its planning guidance.
Meanwhile Environmental Protection Scotland and RTPI Scotland launched a rebadged version of the IAQM/Epuk guidelines to reflect Scottish planning law.

Scottish highers

Air quality trends in Scotland show both winners and losers.

School response

The Local Government Association has defended itself from suggestions from the British Lung Foundation that councils should monitor air quality outside schools.

Wood worsens winter smog

The worst pollution episode in many years stretched from south east England to Wales and Northern Ireland. Wood smoke has been blamed for worsening the January smog which led to the highest PM2.5 in London since April 2011.

HS2 mitigation set out for Lords

A report has set out how HS2 will mitigate air quality issues.

Nudge unit uncovers apathy

The former government ‘nudge unit’ has studied ‘soft’ transport measures and found some are ineffective. Changing perceptions may not be good value for money.

TSI DustTrak monitors gain Mcerts approval

Ashtead Technology has announced that the TSI Environmental DustTrak Aerosol Monitors have achieved Mcerts approval.

Driverless benefit

A government review suggests driverless vehicles could reduce emissions as they will travel more smoothly – but the predicted increase in mobility may swamp any emission benefits.

Ricardo reappointed

Ricardo Energy & Environment (formerly AEA) has been reappointed by Defra to run the UK’s National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) on behalf of Defra.

Black carbon success

Black carbon continues to decrease across the UK, reports suggest.

Schools to get air audits

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is funding air quality audits for 50 schools.

Low emission neighbourhoods named...

Six schemes across nine London boroughs will share £2.5m to create low emission neighbourhoods.

...and cleaner air boroughs named

The GLA has released a list of ‘cleaner air boroughs’

10 new london low emission bus zones

An expansion of low emission bus zones will see 12 zones in London seeing a concentration of clean buses.

Heathrow challenge fails

The challenge by local councils against the go ahead for a third runway at Heathrow has failed.

Congestion charge needs a rethink?

The London Assembly transport committee has suggested road pricing should replace the congestion charge.

Further reaction emerges to NICE guidelines

The Institute of Air Quality Management has released its views on recent NICE guidance put out for consultation (AQB January p7).

Construction update

The Institute of Air Quality Management is to review its guidance on air quality monitoring near demolition and construction sites.

Must monitor

Clientearth is in the Belgian High Court arguing that the regional government must reinstate monitoring equipment that has been removed from high pollution areas.

Good transport practice

A review of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund looks at good practice in areas such as buses, cycling and walking.

Diesel success

Emission Analytics has updated its Equa new vehicle emission index and noted that both small and large engines are now getting considerably closer to their claimed emission performance.

California success

A 667-page report confirms that the previously adopted package of GHG standards, technology-forcing zero-emission vehicle standards, and the most health-protective PM standards in the world are working.

US fines

VW has pleaded guilty to charges relating to defeat devices. Following EPA action, has agreed to pay $4.3bn in penalties.

Paris Crit’Air sticker solution

Paris has recently been hit by high pollution events – until now it has used odd/even number plate bans to limit vehicle number but these have not been well enforced.

Agencies get tough on dirty burners

Natural Resources Wales has refused to grant a permit to the Cwmfelinfach incinerator near Caerphilly despite it having gained planning permission.

Another non-burner

A waste incinerator has been refused permission by the Environment Agency.
Work has already started on the burner at Kelvedon, Essex, but the 35m high stack was considered too low.

Clientearth bags £100k from City of London

Environmental lawyer Clientearth has been awarded a grant of £100,000 by The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, to expand its work improving London’s air quality.

Silvertown crossing tests IANs?

A new potential flashpoint for air quality is the proposed new river crossing in east London. Jack Pease reports

Wales ponders new AQ duties

Welsh Assembly members probe how air quality fits into new joined up thinking that imposes a duty for wider consideration of air quality.

New action plan for Croydon

Croydon appears to be sticking its neck out by proposing exciting actions – including banning bonfires