THE government has released a new air quality plan but the expected diesel scrappage scheme doesn’t feature.
Ministers were ordered to draw up the new clean air plans following a court challenge by environmental lawyers ClientEarth, with the High Court ruling that existing government proposals to meet EU-mandated pollution limits were not sufficient.
The Environment Department (Defra) lost a last-minute High Court bid to delay revealing the draft plans to reduce illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide until after the General Election.
The document released today (May 5) sets out the principles which local authorities should follow when setting up Clean Air Zones in England, but any plans as to whether a scrappage scheme will or won’t be implemented in the government’s plan to improve air quality in cities has yet to be decided.
The government has already set a plan to reduce the number of polluting cars on the road, with the ultimate goal of ‘all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040, and for nearly every car and van to be zero emission by 2050,’ as announced last year.
Local authorities are already responsible for improving air quality in their area, but they are now expected to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.
The government is now consulting on a range of measures that could be taken to mitigate the impact of action to improve air quality.
In line with the timetable directed by the Courts the government is seeking views on these proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by July 31. All final decisions will therefore be taken by the incoming government.
The consultation outlines that a scrappage scheme could still be introduced, but that ‘such measures would need to provide value for money to the taxpayer and target support where it is most needed.’
Earlier in the week it was believed that a targeted scrappage scheme for older diesel vehicles could be announced in today’s policy paper.