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Overcoming the Challenges of Poor Air Quality

By: Kevin Turpin

18 January 2018/Categories: PTRC News

Air-quality remains very much at the top of the political agenda in the UK. Whilst everybody has a duty to minimise emissions to air the key stakeholders responsible for managing local air-quality are local and highway authorities.  In 2017 the Joint Air-Quality Unit (an amalgamation of practitioners from DEFRA and the DfT) issued a National Plan to deal nitrogen dioxide pollution. The plan coincided with legal challenges principally by ClientEarth who are pressing all levels of government to take assertive action in resolving air-quality to be within nationally based air quality standards. The JAQU has targeted initial action on air quality on areas where exceedances have been predicted based on a national prediction model. 

Here lies the dilemma, resolving air-quality in the shortest possible time will involve developing measures which in some cases will be politically unpalatable. On the other hand, failing to come up with solutions is not an option. Added to this dilemma is the ongoing impact of regional development through . 
There is currently no duty to refuse developments on the grounds of air-quality, although guidance suggest it should represent a material consideration. However, some interesting questions are beginning to emerge. In the wake of Clientearth challenges, further challenges are increasingly likely “can the local planning authority grant planning permission where development will delay compliance with limit values”? “Can a local planning authority grant planning permission where development will make air-quality worse - where there is a breach of limit values?”. If indeed local planning authorities are given additional powers to scrutinise the impact of developments might we see the introduction of mitigation being a central condition of planning applications?  
The training day facilitated by PTRC and AECOM will include an exploration of the questions raised above in order to prepare practitioners for what may be the changing face of air quality management


To find out more information on the course 'Overcoming the Challenges of Poor Air Quality', please visit the PTRC website


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