Defra air quality plan shows lack of leadership says EIC


Responding to today’s Defra Draft Air Quality Plan, EIC’s Executive Director, Matthew Farrow, said:

Air pollution is a real political and policy challenge – many actors, large technical and scientific uncertainties, complex interactions and a public who want the problem solved urgently but hope someone else will pick up the cost.  But these are the very problems where political leadership is most needed, and today’s draft plan show’s little.

The commitment to expanding the network of Clean Air Zones is something EIC has long called for and the emphasis on the role of retrofitting, alternative fuels and innovation more widely is also valuable.  But despite the Defra analysis showing that only a significant and rapid drop in use of existing diesel vehicles in urban areas is likely to make a meaningful difference to NOx levels, the plan does nothing to build support for the hard decisions that follow from this: charging polluting vehicles, delivering a scrappage scheme, aligning vehicle tax with NOx and PM emissions  and providing support for additional retrofitting, low emission fuel use and the transition to Ultra Low Emission vehicles.

Lastly, we must not forget that getting a grip on UK air pollution will help build an industry that can help the rest of the world clean up its dirty air, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process.  

The Defra Plan can be found here:

The EIC’s 2015 report A Clear Choice for the UK: Technology Options ofr tackling air pollution can be found here:


Author: Sam Ibbott
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