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Consultation launched on how more councils should tackle air pollution

The Government has launched a consultation on how 33 councils should reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in the shortest possible time.

The Government was ordered by the High Court in February to take stronger action to improve air quality in areas not compelled to introduce clean air zones (CAZs) or submit local action plans.

London will introduce its ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) next year, while five cities – Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham and Southampton – have been ordered introduce clean air zones (CAZs) before 2020.

A further 23 local authorities, where breaches of NO2 legal limits are expected beyond 2021, are required to set out local action plans for tackling air quality.

However, the High Court judge ruled that the Government’s plan, published in July 2017, was unlawful as it did not compel 45 other local authorities in England, where pollution is a problem, to comply with the law as soon as possible.

Taking into account that 12 of the 45 are projected to have legal levels by the end of 2018 however, the judge ordered ministers to require local authorities to investigate and identify measures to tackle illegal levels of pollution in the remaining 33.

In launching the consultation today, the Government says it wants to know what measures will be effective in reducing roadside NO2 levels in these 33 local authorities in England. It is also interested in how these measures should be assessed.

These views, it says, will help inform the local authority studies, which need to be submitted to the government by July 31.

The Government will consider the results, and will publish a supplement to the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations by October 5.

The consultation can be accessed by clicking here and closes on June 26.

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