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April  2017 Headlines

Wealden habitat wins again

The saga of habitats v. houses is back in the High Court. Once again habitats won in a judgment that challenges DMRB, IANs and Highways England methodology. Natural England has been crucified.

Budget on diesel

Despite widespread pleas to increase taxation on diesel to reflect increased health impacts, the recent Budget did not change the fuel duty differential.

‘Super-inquiry’ to look at air quality

A plethora of Parliamentary reports into air quality are to be followed by a ‘superinquiry’.

Costs ruling thwarts challenge

Liverpool Green Party, with the support of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), has been prevented from mounting a judicial review against a 333-space city centre car park.

Groups mount challenge to costs rules

Three NGOs have launched legal proceedings over new costs rules that came into force this week amid claims the reforms could make it “virtually impossible” to bring a public interest case to protect the environment.

Fracking challenge

Fracking in Lancashire is back in the High Court.
Protesters have launched a judicial review to probe whether the go ahead to the two fracking site breaches NPPF and EU laws.

PRTR probe

Government is seeking views on whether the PRTR is fit for purpose.

Aecom additions

Aecom has two new recruits – Kevin Turpin and Anna Savage, who are based in its Leeds and Basingstoke respectively.

Smelly pig guide

New standards on resources and emissions will help national authorities across the EU to lower the environmental impact of around 20 000 large poultry and pig farms.

Real world Ricardo

Ricardo is launching a “real-world” vehicle emissions monitoring service.

Savaged, and a DMRB ‘direction’

The Wealden Court battle (p1 & below) is being blamed on bad advice on air quality delivered by a Natural England’s ‘protected species’ advisor.

City trees

Six ‘city trees’ are to be installed in Modena in a bid to prove the concept of ‘smart’ smart trees.

Oxford goes for ‘zero emission zone”

LEZ. ULEZ. Clean Air Zone. AQMA. Now Zero Emission Zone.

Fowler retires

Professor David Fowler CBE FRS – a world expert who led research on air pollution issues including acid rain,

NO2 damage cost lifted

Failure of Comeap to decide on a figure for health impacts of NO2 has prompted interim updates to TAG values for NO2 damage costs.

Emissions argued in Bus Bill

Tighter emission clauses were put into the Bus Bill by the Lords – but then removed by Government.

NECD projects missed deadlines

The UK is set to miss many NECD targets, a new report suggests.

MOT relaxation

The DfT is consulting on extending the three year period new cars are exempt from MOT testing to four years.

World death toll

UNICEF says satellite imagery confirms that around 2 billion children live in areas where outdoor air pollution, caused by factors such as vehicle emissions, heavy use of fossil fuels, dust and burning of waste, exceeds minimum air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organisation.

WHO history

A potted history of the World Health Organisation’s air quality activities has been published.

Low NOx advice ignored?

Hackney Council has set up a scrutiny panel into air quality that is considering bolstering plans set out by London Mayor. Along the way the panel has heard how air quality advice is being ignored for three quarters of planning applications.

4.5% LAPC increase

It is proposed that local authorities may increase permitting charges by 4.5%. The increase follows pegging of charges since 2010.

Biomass bad

A report from the Chatham House thinktank questions the carbon benefits of burning biomass.

Silvertown air arguments rumble on

The Silvertown tunnel inquiry rumbles with air quality arguments proving highly sophisticated.

TfL sets out new monitoring and mitigation strategy

TfL has responded to widespread criticism at the inquiry by tabling a comprehensive strategy on air quality.

Government funds electric taxis

Government development funds will enable production of an electric taxi.

EU accepts emission inquiry criticisms

The VW defeat device scandal led to an EU probe into the ability of member states to police emission standards (AQB January p4). MEPs have now endorsed the inquiry report.

Brexit plea

The Mayor, in London’s official response to the government’s Brexit White Paper and triggering of Article 50 last week, is calling on the government to introduce a new Environment Act.

Public health drawn in

At last an ambitious air quality document from Defra! It champions the role of public health directors in tackling air quality. Jack Pease reviews it