Air Quality: In the News, January 2020

Our Senior Air Quality Consultant, James Browne, summaries the latest Air Quality news this month. Including; Reducing air pollution could be a ‘natural climate solution’, the Environment Bill returns to Parliament and 7,000 trees to be planted in London.

Reducing air pollution could be a ‘natural climate solution’

According to the University of Exeter, reducing air pollution could enable plants to grow faster and capture an increased amount of carbon dioxide. Researchers believe that reducing the emissions of ozone-forming gasses could help create a ‘natural climate solution’. It is thought that, by reducing emissions by 50% from the seven largest manmade sources, such as energy production and transport it could help plants grow leading to negative carbon emissions.

Environment Bill returns to Parliament

The Environment Bill delayed because of the General Election, which was brought before the House of Commons in October, is set to return to Parliament. It was expected that the government would set a legally binding target for PM2.5 to match the WHO’s own target, yet the government has only committed to setting the target before October 2022.

This has led to criticism from environmental groups. ClientEarth lawyer Katie Nield said, ‘There is no legally binding commitment to meet WHO air pollution standards by 2030 in the Bill. Its absence means the government is completely failing people across our country who are breathing harmful and dirty air.’

The government claims that the new bill sets a ‘gold standard’ for air quality. Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said, ‘It sets a gold standard for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and cutting down on plastic waste.’

London to plant 7,000 trees

7,000 trees are to be planted in London to help reduce air pollution according to the Mayor, Sadiq Khan. A total of £4m has been raised from a combination of the Forestry Commission, the Greener City Fund and an extra £1m from participating boroughs.

The current 8 million trees in London are estimated to remove over 2,200 tonnes of air pollution, delivering £133m worth of benefits to Londoners a year. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, ‘I’m doing everything in my power to make London zero-carbon and one of the greenest, most sustainable cities in the world.’

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