National Highways will use the Environment Act's authority to become the first "Relevant Public Authority," putting it under legal obligation to collaborate with local councils as needed to take appropriate action to meet air quality requirements and objectives. Although National Highways already collaborates with local governments to improve air quality, this regulatory requirement—which was the subject of earlier this year's consultation—will result in a more uniform strategy for achieving local air quality goals on road networks.
Additionally, Defra has clarified duties and responsibilities within local government and amended Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) Policy Guidance to reflect legislative changes made as a result of the Environment Act 2021.
The updated guidance will include:
Air Quality Objectives (pollution concentration limits) must be reached and local air quality standards must be raised, according to a new requirement for local air quality action plans.
To ensure that local councils create Air Quality Action Plans more rapidly, it is necessary to declare an Air Quality Management Area within a year of discovering an exceedance of the air quality targets.
Within 18 months of designating an Air Quality Management Area, local authorities must create an Air Quality Action Plan.
A new system of alerts and reminders to encourage local councils to report on the steps they are doing to improve air quality.
Read the full article here. Read the Full guidance on Local Air Qua
lity Managment here.