Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has finally published the consultation on its new UK Air Quality Plan
Matthew Pencharz, the former deputy mayor of London for Environment and current director of Off Grid Energy, is calling for clean air technologies to be used on construction sites.
This comes as a response to the UK government’s Air Quality Plan that was published by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) at the end of last week.
Pencharz says the government should do more to encourage local authorities to introduce and have the powers to enforce environmental regulations on construction sites for the use of clean air technologies.
In London, construction equipment accounts for some 7 per cent of emissions leading to high NO2 concentrations.
“It is disappointing that in its new consultation to deliver the reductions in air pollution the UK needs, the Government is not doing more to push the utilisation of clean technologies on construction sites to save both money and emissions and stimulate this high value manufacturing sector,” said Pencharz, who brought in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) regulations for construction equipment while he was deputy mayor of London for environment.
The GLA brought in regulations in 2015 to begin the cleaning up of constructions sites, however this consultation is only talking about regulations from 2019 for new machines, with no thought to the thousands of older, high polluting ones.
In addition, other local authorities do not appear to be being encouraged to bring in London-style regulations and, even if they did any enforcement powers remain weak.
Pencharz stated that the Government should be proposing to give strong enforcement powers to local authorities wishing to regulate construction equipment operating in their areas and work closely with organisations like the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) to solve this growing problem.
Pencharez said that while the challenge to deliver clean air creates a huge opportunity for the UK’s high value manufacturing sector, it needs reasonable and pragmatic regulations to stimulate the deployment of clean technologies, which can deliver environmental and financial benefits to the construction and events industries.
“We feel the government has missed a trick,” he said.
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