Clean Air Strategy welcomed – but more incentives needed
The Government’s Clean Air Strategy launched last week to cut air pollution and save lives has been given a warm welcome by Staffordshire green energy expert Ron Fox.
“It is a good start,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park (www.noreus.co.uk), “but more needs to be done to encourage householders to switch to renewable alternatives.”
The scheme, which was launched by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, aims to cut air pollution, which is the fourth biggest threat to public health after cancer, obesity and heart disease.
The 25-year plan, which is now out for consultation, aims to reduce the costs of air pollution to society by an estimated £1 billion every year by 2020, rising to £2.5 billion every year from 2030.
New policies include:
- Giving local councils more powers to improve air quality in their area.
- Only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale, preventing 8,000 tonnes of harmful high level of pollution from fine particles, known as particulates, entering the atmosphere each year.
- New wood burning stoves will have to be cleaner, although existing stoves will not be banned nor will the burning of coal and open wood fires. Wood burners, along with solid fuels, cause 38 per cent of particulate pollution.
- Farmers will be required to invest in new equipment to tackle ammonia from farming slurry, which accounts for 88 per cent of all ammonia emissions.
- More research will be done to develop new standards for tyres and brakes to reduce the toxic non-exhaust emissions of micro plastics from vehicles which can pollute air and water. This is in in addition to the Government’s £3.5 billion plan to reduce air pollution from road transport and diesel vehicles, set out in July last year.
Mr Gove said that air quality had improved significantly since 2010, but 60 years on from the historic Clean Air Act air pollution was making people ill, shortening lives and damaging the UK’s economy and environment.
The Government has been obliged to publish this Clean Air Strategy under an EU rule and is in addition to the law which has seen the UK taken to court over high levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution.
All EU nations will have to submit similar plans to cut pollution, but the Environment Secretary said the UK’s policies would be carried out beyond Brexit.
Ron said these were worthy goals, but the Government was still not doing enough to encourage householders to move to green energy.
“One example is the feed-in tariff which encourages householders to install solar panels on their homes, helping them to save money on their electricity bills, earn money by selling spare capacity back to the Grid and cutting their home’s carbon footprint.
“Over the last few years the Government has continually reduced that incentive by more than 60 per cent. They should reverse that policy give people more financial incentives to go green,” he added.
For more advice contact Ron Fox on 0845 474 6641.