Friday, May 05, 2017

Improving Air Quality in UK

Today, having been so ordered by the courts, the government has published its approach to Air Quality.

Here's the document:
https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/air-quality-plan-for-tackling-nitrogen-dioxide/supporting_documents/Draft%20Revised%20AQ%20Plan.pdf

And here's the consultation form:
https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/air-quality-plan-for-tackling-nitrogen-dioxide/consultation/intro/

It's all a bit rubbish but I filled it in anyway. Here are my responses to the main questions.

7. How satisfied are you that the proposed measures set out in this consultation will address the problem of nitrogen dioxide as quickly as possible?

We have two problems:
1. Air pollution leading to immediate adverse health effects
2. Greenhouse gas emissions leading to catastrophic global warming.
The solution to both problems must lie in the rapid removal of technologies that burn oil.
The proposed measures address neither the scale nor the urgency of either problem.

8. What do you consider to be the most appropriate way for local authorities in England to determine the arrangements for a Clean Air Zone, and the measures that should apply within it? What factors should local authorities consider when assessing impacts on businesses?

The concept of a 'Clean Air Zone' only addresses the issue of concentrated local pollution and has no bearing on global warming.
It is for national government to create the conditions in which the use of the internal combustion engine is ended.
Meanwhile, local authorities can create traffic-free zones in town centres and promote alternatives such as public electric mass transit systems.

9. How can government best target any funding to support local communities to cut air pollution? What options should the Government consider further, and what criteria should it use to assess them? Are there other measures which could be implemented at a local level, represent value for money, and that could have a direct and rapid impact on air quality? 

Central government funding should be provided to local authorities to carry out programme described in Q8 above.
The use of the phrase "value for money" is worrisome. What price is government attaching to the immediate health of its citizens and the long term survival of humanity?
Government should outlaw the supply and purchase of new vehicles with internal combustion engines and provide funding for the motor industry and its supply chain to change to electric vehicle production and provide funding to the renewable energy electricity generation industry to be able to cope with the increased demand.

10. How best can governments work with local communities to monitor local interventions and evaluate their impact?

If Government were committed to an evidence-based approach to policy, then the evidence of local pollution's direct health effects and the long term global warming effect would be taken seriously. There is no evidence in this consultation that this is the case.
Government should enable local communities to live without burning fossil carbon, the monitoring and evaluation of which is a trivial task compared with implementation.

11. Which vehicles should be prioritised for government-funded retrofit schemes?

'Retrofit' is not a useful concept. Internal combustion engines have to be removed and replaced with vehicles that do not pollute the air.

12. What type of environmental and other information should be made available to help consumers choose which cars to buy?

Since all new vehicles should be zero-emissions in use this question should focus on the carbon emissions embedded in manufacture and in electricity generation.

13. How could the Government further support innovative technological solutions and localised measures to improve air quality?

The whole energy and transport industries should be put onto a 'war-footing' to make the entire sector fossil fuel free  as fast as technically possible irrespective of short term expenditure.

14. Do you have any other comments on the draft UK Air Quality Plan for tackling nitrogen dioxide?

Do not pretend that there is anything 'evidence-based' about current policy-making when so little is being done to address the problem.

15 Overall, how satisfied are you with our online consultation tool?

Loaded questions which have prejudged assumptions built in. These will direct most responders to give a false account.

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