UK Air Quality Plan needs 'considerable revision' to meet NO2 limits, says London Assembly
The plan is being revised after the Supreme Court in April this year ordered the Government to take action to tackle the dangerously high levels of NO2 found in the UK. Compliance with the limits is required as soon as possible and a revised plan must be proposed by the end of 2015.
In particular, the committee is calling for a new target of 2020 to be implemented instead of the proposed 2025.
The committee added that the current proposals fail to question the real emissions of Euro 6 diesel vehicles, despite research showing the some models emit up to 20 times the legal level for NOx (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide).
Darren Johnson AM, chair of the Environment Committee, said: “The EU regulations setting out safe levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) first came into force in 2010 so to still be in breach in 2025, some fifteen years later is an unacceptable threat to public health.
“To put it simply, it’s too long to wait when we know that 9,500 people a year are dying due to the dangerously high levels of pollution in London alone.
“The Supreme Court ordered the Government to demonstrate that all feasible, effective and proportionate measures have been considered and to ensure legal compliance as soon as possible. With this in mind, the committee believes that the current version of the Air Quality Plan requires considerable revision, at the very least to address the recent diesel revelations and to support the use of ultra-low emissions vehicles through incentives such as a national scrappage scheme. The Mayor of London and some other local authorities are taking action, but the Government needs to fund and support this, not just leave them to it.”