New legal limits, responsibilities and policies are required post-Brexit to “significantly reduce” air pollution levels.
This is the view of the independent thinktank Bright Blue, whose new report focuses on the impacts of and attitudes towards air pollution throughout the UK.
In Emission impossible? Air pollution, national governance and the transport sector, Bright Blue explore the role of the government in reducing air pollution levels, with particular focus paid to NO2, which is the one pollutant which the UK doesn’t meet EU-derived legal hourly and annual limits.
A number of recommendations are made that will help to reduce air pollution levels; some of these related to the transport sector.
In the UK, the sector is being urged to clean up its act; London has put in place the most stringent emission standard in the world, with other local authorities set to follow.
And Bright Blue has outlined eight policy recommendations for reducing air pollution in the transport sector.
These include lifting the freeze on the value of fuel duty and applying a surcharge on fuel duty for diesel fuel.
In terms of ultra-low emission vehicles, the thinktank believe those purchasing these vehicles should be exempt from VAT; elsewhere, local and combined authorities should be enabled to strive for ‘reasonable profits’ from their charging Clean Air Zones (CAZs) in order to fund local air pollution abatement policies.
William Nicolle is a Researcher at Bright Blue and co-authored the report. He said the impending Brexit provides the opportunity to “raise air pollution standards.”
He said: “Stronger evidence has emerged in recent years about the detrimental impact of air pollution to human health, the economy and the environment.
“Consequently, there is growing public and political pressure for tougher action to reduce levels of air pollution in the UK.
“The UK’s departure from the EU means that there is an opportunity to raise air pollution standards in the UK.
“The UK government needs new, ambitious legal limits, legal responsibilities on air pollution.”