The bare bones of an air quality strategy

Proposals to require local authorities to identify and draw up plans to tackle areas of poor air quality were unveiled by the Department of the Environment (DoE) in January.1 In principle, the strategy offers considerable potential for tackling the UK's pollution hotspots. But its effectiveness could be blunted if the DoE resorts to undemanding targets and timescales for improvement - a fear compounded by its continuing fudge over the legal status of air quality standards and the powers available to enforce them. Most of the impact will be felt in the transport sector. But the proposed system of air quality standards (AQSs) may also lead to more stringent controls on industrial plant regulated under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

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