Businesses have called for greater clarity, consistency and support at a national Clean Air Summit as the Government readies the Environment Bill and local councils across the country create detailed air quality plans, some including clean air zones.
Fleet News and UK100, the network of local government leaders who have pledged to shift to 100% clean energy by 2050, held an air quality debate in Birmingham, attended by fleets and local councillors, to agree a Clean Air Declaration that demands urgent action to be taken as a national priority to eliminate air pollution.
The initiative, sponsored by ALD, Enterprise Group and Geotab, had three objectives:
- To form a consensus between local authorities and business for the need to take urgent action on clean air.
- To identify the priorities that the Government needs to put in place to help local authorities and business.
- To advocate and communicate action plans to a wider audience.
Those views formed the framework of the Clean Air Declaration, which was subsequently ratified by metropolitan mayors, city chiefs and business leaders at the Clean Air Summit, hosted at City Hall by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on October 23 as part of a four-day International Air Quality event.
To date, 16 local authorities have signed the declaration (see below), which has four main actions including legally binding commitment to adopt World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality standards as a minimum. The declaration calls on Government to enshrine this into the Environment Bill, shortly due a second reading.
Clean Air Declaration
- Require, and provide necessary resources for, the meeting of world leading World Health Organization air pollution standards, as a minimum, in the Environment Bill that will eliminate pollution from controllable sources.
- Establish a programme that provides financial support for the poorest in our society and for small businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles, active travel including via a £1.5bn Fleet Renewal Programme and also to stimulate the market to deliver cleaner vehicles, including heavy freight, municipal vehicles and for retrofit solutions.
- Grant Local Authorities the powers and funding they need to deliver zero emission transport networks, encourage and enable behaviour change and tackle non-road transport sources of pollution including: public transport, infrastructure, construction, planning and enforcement.
- Create certainty for business and local government by setting out an ambitious roadmap to 2030 as part of a strengthened UK Government Clean Air Strategy that empowers business, local authorities and public bodies to collaborate with confidence and put in place the necessary actions needed for clean air.
To sign the pledge, go to https://www.uk100.org/pledge-signup/
An in-depth review of the Clean Air Summit discussions, including comments from city mayors and councillors, will be published in the November 28 issue of Fleet News.