Oxford City Council will today (20/6) join local authorities representing 13 other cities from across England and Wales to meet Michael Gove and discuss Government support to tackle air pollution.
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, and Councillor Tom Hayes, Executive Board Member for Safer and Greener Environment, will join mayors and council leaders from 14 cities at the National Clean Air Summit in London, co-hosted by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, UK100 and IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research).
The leaders who will be hosted by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, will meet with Mr Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to call on him to agree to a national clean air plan.
The city leaders will be playing a part in an ambitious national plan for clean air that prioritises action to reduce road transport emissions, provides new powers to tackle other sources of pollution and creates a framework to support partnerships between local, regional and national Government and its agencies including Highways England and business.
This plan must ensure that local action is adequately supported by activity across Government to tackle air pollution and must include:
- A modern Clean Air Act that establishes strong air quality limits linked to WHO recommended guidelines, enforced by an independent statutory body. The Act should also grant local and regional authorities the powers and resources they need, while ensuring action at a national level to tackle all sources of air pollution, including from construction, buildings, transport, wood-burning and maritime sources.
- A targeted national vehicle renewal scheme to replace older polluting vehicles that supports drivers and businesses to change to low emission vehicles and other sustainable forms of transport, taking special care that those on low-incomes and also small businesses are helped to make the shift.
- An enhanced Clean Air Fund open to all towns and cities in England funded by UK Government and motor-vehicle manufacturers, sufficient to support the delivery of Clean Air Zones and provide investment for cleaner buses, taxis and walking, cycling and public transport.
- Support for businesses to innovate clean transport technology and enable the UK to be a global leader in manufacturing low-emission vehicles post-Brexit as part of the Road to Zero Transport, Clean Growth and Industrial Strategies. This should include a commitment to phase out sales of new pure diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030. To ensure the role out of the vital electric vehicle infrastructure needed to support this, cities should have the power to install charge points at petrol stations and private car parks.
Councillors Brown and Hayes will join leaders and representatives from Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool City Region, Liverpool City Council, London, Newcastle, Sheffield City Region, Southampton and the West Midlands City Region.
Despite a 36.9 per cent reduction in levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide across Oxford in the last decade, parts of the city centre are still failing to meet the legal limit on the pollutant.
Oxford City Council has introduced a raft of measures to reduce air pollution in Oxford and has secured £3.25m of Government funding to install charging points for taxis and residents, and upgrade buses to reduce emissions. In partnership with Oxfordshire County Council it is also proposing the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in the city centre to tackle unsafe levels of air pollution.
Oxford City Council was named as the number one local authority in the UK for tackling air pollution by Government Business and ClientEarth named the City Council as one of the best local authorities in the UK for tackling air pollution.
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council said: “I am proud that the lead that we have taken in Oxford on tackling poor air quality through our low emission zone and now our commitment to a zero emission zone is being recognised. I welcome the opportunity to discuss with other council leaders a common position on how the government can help us tackle this further.”