CILT hits out at government air quality plans

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has hit out at government’s plans to ban petrol and diesel cars as being ‘weak and timid’ given what the CILT says is the urgency and health risks of the transport sector.

The CILT said in a statement that the draft plan is likely to be ‘ineffective’ in dealing with NO2 concentrations. The CILT said, “Many towns and cities in England suffer excessive – and illegal – levels of NO2 concentrations on their busiest roads and these levels are now known to be injurious to health.”

To deal with the issue the CILT said that there need to be ‘Clean Air Zones’ (CAZs) to tackle the health risks associated with air pollution. However, the CILT said, “the draft plan treated this as a last resort after all other methods could be shown to fail. CILT is disappointed to see that the new Air Quality plans perpetuate this same approach.”

The CILT did give praise where this is due. The government have allowed local authorities to ban old, polluting vehicles from CAZs as an alternative to charging to let them in, as has been done by more than 200 cities across Europe. 

The CILT continued, “We recommend that this option should be explored by local authorities, as a practical approach to tackle euro-emission requirements for compliant vehicles, and can be introduced initially for older vehicles, and then progressively tightened over time as the community gets used to the measures.”

Focusing on the measures to ban diesel and petrol cars by 2040, the CILT said, they “feel that this announcement does nothing to help the immediate air quality problems which require determined action now. This announcement has been described as a ‘smokescreen’ to draw attention away from the ineffectiveness of the immediate plans.”

The CILT pointed out that much of the authority to clean up air in the UK has been devolved to local authorities. Daniel Parker-Klein, Head of Policy, CILT, said: “Tens of thousands of people die prematurely each year because of air pollution, and yet government in its Air Quality proposals fails to provide an effective lead. 

“The Government’s own research concludes that charging non-complaint vehicles to enter Clean Air Zones is the only way to quickly and cost effectively improve air quality. By not providing political ‘cover’ and requiring local authorities to make the case for charging, only once all other routes are exhausted, is a wholly inadequate approach.”
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