Last week the Government issued a consultation draft of its air quality plan, 'Improving air quality: reducing nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities'. Alongside this consultation it also published it’s Clean Air Zone Framework. Following an earlier consultation, the Framework sets out the principles local authorities should follow in setting up a Zone. Among other things, it aligns desired outcomes, potential measures and the types of possible actions under three key themes:
- supporting local growth and ambition (decoupling growth and pollution).
- accelerating the transition to a low emission economy.
- immediate action to improve air quality and health.
As Zones can be charging or non-charging additional requirements are set out for those where charging is proposed. The Framework states that “as a minimum” Zones are expected to:
- “be in response to a clearly defined air quality problem, seek to address and continually improve it, and ensure this is understood locally;
- have signs in place along major access routes to clearly delineate the zone;
- be identified in local strategies including (but not limited to) local land use plans and policies and local transport plans at the earliest opportunity to ensure consistency with local ambition;
- provide active support for ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) take up through facilitating their use;
- include a programme of awareness raising and data sharing;
- include local authorities taking a lead in terms of their own and contractor vehicle operations and procurement in line with this framework;
- ensure bus, taxi and private hire vehicle emission standards (where they do not already) are improved to meet Clean Air Zone standards using licensing, franchising or partnership approaches as appropriate; and
- support healthy, active travel”.
The Clean Air Zone Framework can be downloaded here
The Air Quality Plan is open for consultation until 15th June, responses can be made on-line here