The IES and IAQM are examining the role of local authorities in air quality and planning situations and is asking professionals working for local authorities in an air quality capacity to answer a short survey about air quality responsibilities with respect to planning.
In the UK Local Authorities have a statutory duty for the management of local air quality (Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 - Part III of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002). As part of their responsibilities they are required to perform regular reviews and assessments of the quality of ambient air against a series of specific standards and objectives as prescribed by regulation. If locations are found to be in breach of standards they are required to declare them subject to local action plans that are designed to bring about improvements. Since the advent of these responsibilities many guidelines and tools have been developed to promote best practice in the way these responsibilities are carried out. However, the type and severity of air quality problems that exist at the local authority scale varies quite widely across the UK. Likewise, the range of available resources and expertise available to make this particular concern a high priority. The first part of this project - a technical note on the legislation surrounding air quality and planning - was published earlier this year. T
he outcome from the survey will form part of a wider investigation by the IES that will examine where potential points of conflict may exist with other duties such as planning or energy efficiency (for example). The wider project will also seek to illustrate these points of conflict with reference to case study examples from local authorities. The intention is to arrive at sensible workable conclusions and/or recommendations that will be of use to Local Authority practitioners.