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Councils await cleaner air zones funding alongside "very, very targeted" national action - reports

Lee Baker
26 July 2017
The Government has faced an outcry over air pollution

Ministers are set to announce a "very, very targeted" scrappage scheme at the national level, whilst supporting Clean Air Zones (CAZs) that charge vehicles in local areas as a last resort, in a finalised air quality plan, it is reported.

An air quality plan to be backed by new funding of £500m for a scrappage scheme and £250m for councils to set up CAZs has been subject to some changes following departmental wrangling, The Times said. A Government spokesman says today that new funding for councils will be provided to "accelerate development of local plans to clean up dirty air around our roads". The Government is to encourage councils to implement other measures before CAZ charges, including retrofitting buses and changing road layouts. On national policy, ministers have said to date they will "continue to explore appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles," but any changes will only be announced in the autumn Budget following "engagement with stakeholders".

A ban on the sale of both diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 set to be announced by the environment secretary Michael Gove was given a cool reception, with commentators pointing out that the coalition Government had already planned for the majority of the vehicle fleet to be ultra-low emission by 2050, requiring most new cars and vans to be close to zero-emission by 2040. The continued support for airport expansion, and the scrapping of rail electrification plans, were also described as contradictory moves by some, while others asked questions about whether plans for charging infrastructure and energy generation were sufficient, and how the receipts in fuel duty - standing at £27.9bn in 2016/17 - were going to be replaced. 

Gove said last week that environmental policy such as the EU testing regime for emissions standards had been captured by producer interests who put their selfish agenda ahead of the common good... outside the EU we can do much better".


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