Responding to air quality challenges: Implementing potential solution to air pollution

Ahead of the Air Quality Forum, (organised by Waterfront Conference Company, Freshwater’s sister Company) Helen Masterson, Noise and Pollution Manager at London Borough of Newham, shares insight on some of the air quality challenges local authorities are facing, and explores potential solutions.

Why has air quality become such a difficult issue for local authorities to tackle?

The current Air Quality framework does not effectively encourage local authorises to work collaboratively across their boundaries to tackle air pollution. Local authorities in city areas are now looking at clean air zones following London’s example (ULEZ) and due to recent central government pressures to comply with EU targets.

The Clean Air 2019 strategy is putting more emphasis on LAs as the drivers for local air quality changes and there is a general shortage of technical expertise and resources at a local authority level due to austerity to implement this.

In built up areas, half of air pollution is traffic related where authorised emissions are under national rather than local government control.

Aerial view of London at rainy day

How can solutions be implemented more effectively to address air pollution? What are the biggest challenges facing the implementation of solutions to improve air?

More collaborative working across local authority boundaries. Using the Greater London Authority approach of overseeing local authority air quality action plans and technical support and the ULEZ central London and expanded scheme to North/South Circulars.

How can health, planning and transport teams work together to reach solutions of improving air quality?

Having an up-to-date air quality action plan agreed collaboratively across health planning and transport teams with meaningful and agreed targets which cover these areas. Ensuring that the air quality action plan targets are embedded in the local plan, transport local implementation plan and joint strategic needs assessment.

To learn more about implementing solutions to poor air quality, register to attend Waterfront’s Air Quality Forum on the 25th February in London.