The Role of the Local Authority
Local Authorities have a critical role to play in tackling air pollution and emissions, and the majority of active measures to improve pollution hotspots are implemented at a local level. Local Authorities are also responsible for a huge proportion of the air quality monitoring and modelling that is done in the UK, and for declaring and then managing Air Quality Management Areas where pollution exceeds (or is at risk of exceeding) one of the standards.
Local Authorities are uniquely placed to be able to implement a wide range of measures, drawing on a broad set of legislation related to pollution control, environmental protection, planning, transport, public nuisance and more.
Examples include the introduction of Clean Air Zones, funding improvements to local highways and infrastructure to reduce the need for private vehicle use, encouraging the uptake of low emission transport through “active travel” education, or handling complaints of nuisance caused by smoke or dust.
The role of the Local Authority in air quality management is highly varied and the Air Quality Hub exists as a location to share best practice.