EIC calls for “continuous improvement” approach to air quality regulation

Leading environmental business association, the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has called for a “continuous improvement” approach to regulating air pollution post-Brexit.

In a new report, Improving Air Quality After Brexit, published today, with consultancy Aether, EIC has proposed an approach to regulating air pollution post-Brexit which includes the adoption of global best practice such as requiring public authorities to continuously reduce the levels of pollutants such as particulate matter where there is no known safe level.

EIC executive director Matthew Farrow said: “Brexit poses both a challenge and an opportunity for air quality policy. The challenge is to replicate the accountability and long-term framework provided by EU Directives. 

“The opportunity is to look beyond the EU approach and draw from best practice around the world - such as the Canadian policy of requiring continual reductions of the most dangerous pollutants that we know pose a serious risk to the health of our fellow citizens. In this report, we set out practical steps the government should take to ensure we have an effective and robust air quality policy framework outside the EU.”

The report was co-written with environmental consultancy Aether. Tim Williamson, principal consultant at Aether and lead author of the report, said: “Air quality has yet to receive any real attention in the ongoing debate on the type of Brexit the UK wants, and even less on what happens afterwards. In this report Aether and EIC are providing recommendations to the UK government on what Brexit might mean for future air quality in the UK, along with opportunities to better address this major environmental challenge and ensure we keep making improvements into the future.”

The report is one of a series of reports the EIC is publishing setting out its members’ views on the impact of Brexit on environmental policy and how policy should evolve after the UK leaves the EU. It sets out a series of recommendations for government to implement as follows. 

  • Create a statutory Committee on Air Quality, modelled on the Committee on Climate Change, to both track progress towards the achievement of good air quality across the UK and to hold the Government to account, with links to statutory air quality targets
  • Maintain international cooperation, including membership of the European Environment Agency
  • Learn from the policies and measures used across the world to address air pollution and adopt a continuous improvement approach to particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and its precursors (NO2, SO2 and ammonia)
  • Give the above statutory force through a new Clean Air Act
  • Establish clear, independent and meaningful routes of redress on environmental issues
  • Though these actions help to stimulate the green economy for goods and services to reduce environmental impacts

Click here to download the Improving Air Quality After Brexit report

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