Smart Transport

Government to set legally binding air quality targets

The Government is planning to set new air quality targets under its Environment Bill to help reduce public exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

The UK currently falls short of WHO recommended limits of PM 2.5s, which are produced by vehicle engines and known to damage the lungs and heart.

The Government said it is fully committed to tackling air pollution and that is independent of being a member of the EU.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) long-term targets will be supported by interim targets to ensure the UK stays on track with the Government’s five-year trajectory.

George Eustice, Environment Secretary, said: “The targets we set under our Environment Bill will be the driving force behind our bold action to protect and enhance our natural world - guaranteeing real and lasting progress on some of the biggest environmental issues facing us today.

“I hope these targets will provide some much-needed certainty to businesses and society, as we work together to build back better and greener.”

To set the targets, which will also apply to any future Governments, Defra said it will use “an evidence-led process in collaboration with independent experts and stakeholders to make sure these are strong, meaningful and environmental outcome focused”.

To hold the Government to account, the new environmental watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection, will also report annually on the progress that has been made in improving the natural environment in accordance with these targets.

Once proposed targets are developed, businesses, communities and civil society will have an opportunity to share their views in response to a public consultation that is expected in early 2022.

Legislation to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the UK’s presidency of COP26 in November 2021 will also keep the UK at the forefront of international work on air quality.

Whilst investment into alternative fuel power will have a greater long-term impact, TRL is calling for an increased focus on immediate short-term actions such as wider uptake of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and Low Emission Zones (LEZs).

Multiple CAZ plans have been either put on hold, or cancelled as councils consider alternative options in the wake of Covid-19.

Bristol City Council has said it may scrap its plans for a CAZ, Leeds has also halted its CAZ plans. Meanwhile, Manchester is pushing ahead with its plan to introduce a CAZ.

The Smart Transport October 2020 Conference - 'Connecting policy to solutions'

Smart Transport’s autumn conference will be held virtually across three days in October to help showcase solutions to government policy in the fast moving UK transport sector.

The bi-annual event was due to take place at etc. venues Manchester Piccadilly this October, but as a result of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Smart Transport has taken the decision to hold an online event instead on October 20, 21 and 22.

Smart Transport editor-in-chief Stephen Briers said: "We may have been prevented from staging the 'real' event this year, but our Virtual Smart Transport Conference will be a wonderful alternative, offering delegates, exhibitors and sponsors many of the benefits and features they love most over the three days in October.

"Our stunning digital event platform will put delegates right in the room, replicating the familiar surroundings of the conventional conference with seminars, live Q&A, polls, interactive chats and numerous network opportunities."

All speakers for the October dates will present virtually using Smart Transport’s digital event platform.

There will also be areas for delegates to network and collaborate with other senior smart transport experts on the practical steps needed for private sector solutions to turn the Government’s vision into reality.

The diverse range of private sector leaders from the intelligent transport industry will share their passion and vision to bring the concept of ‘mobility for all’ to life during the three day virtual event, including exploring how Covid-19 has greatly impacted all modes of travel.

There will also be virtual stands for all the event partners for delegates to interact with on each day of the event.

Smart Transport would like to thank its headline strategic partners for their support with this virtual event including ABB, AECOM, Centrica, DAF Trucks, Enterprise, FedEx, Geotab, Liberty Global, Macquarie, PJA, Raleigh, Renault and Worldline.

Register now for FREE entry smarttransport.org.uk

Key topics to be discussed across the three day event include:

  • Impact of Covid-19 and decarbonisation of the freight industry
  • Strategic placemaking - integrating place and mobility, ‘levelling up’ towns
  • Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in the real world: The projects and trials that prove the use case
  • Decarbonising mobility - What have we learnt from Covid-19?
  • Liveable streets, cities and towns after the lockdown
  • Bringing together public and private sector to enable innovation
  • Tackling transportation challenges with big data
  • Public transport and shared mobility

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