Saturday, 27 March 2010


Low impact loopholes: HOC on local authorities :Lorries and Chimneys again

Some developers go to extraordinary lengths to have their proposals labelled low impact…this means that the planning procedures are quicker because they can be judged by environmental health officers and ordinary development committees.
Otherwise they would have to be referred to the Environment Agency for approval. Are there any other differences? Watch this space for further investigations.

There were worrying assertions made by the Road Transport Laboratory (Dr. Mcrae) that environmental health officers were overstretched, had to wear too many hats, and were simply not funded well enough to put through changes that bad air quality figures merited. There were suggestions that not enough liason existed between local authorities’ traffic departments and their environmental health departments.

You can watch his evidence on the link below, particularly Joan Walleys comments at 4 mins 30 sec:

HOC Report Summary

Poor air quality reduces the life expectancy of everyone in the UK by an average of seven to
eight months and up to 50,000 people a year may die prematurely because of it. Air
pollution also causes significant damage to ecosystems. Despite these facts being known air
quality is not seen as a priority across government and the UK is failing to meet a range of
domestic and European targets.
The quantified costs of poor air quality that are used to develop policy are out-dated. They
do not take account of all the known health effects, treatment costs, and environmental
damage, nor do they take account of fines that could be imposed by the EU for failing to
meet air quality targets. Many Government departments do not seem fully to understand
how their policies affect air quality, the impact poor air quality has, and its cost to the
Awareness of the issue needs to be raised at all levels of government, and policies
need to take greater account of air quality impacts.
Awareness needs to be raised and behaviour needs to change if air quality targets are to be
met. Transport causes the most exposure to harmful air pollutants, and air quality targets
will not be met without a significant shift in transport policy. Local authorities need to do
more to tackle poor air quality, and they must be given information on how to develop
local air quality strategies.

The cost-benefit analysis is clear: what is needed is the political will to make this a priority
and to commit the resources to address it now so that we can reap the benefits of improved

The report fails to notice the problem of lorries and chimneys

2. Industry and road transport are the main sources of air pollution, though domestic
combustion and agriculture are also to blame. Industry is a major source of emissions of
NOX (46%) and PM10 (36%). Road transport contributes to significant emissions of NO2
(30%) and PM10 (18%). Emissions and exposure vary greatly depending on location.
Although polluting, the majority of large combustion plants ***are located away from major
urban centres.
Road transport contributes far more to the public’s exposure to pollutants
and is responsible for up to 70% of air pollution in urban areas.
***But Beddington is to have two!!

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