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Recalibrating the United Kingdom's local air quality management regime to deliver desired goals

Longhurst, James; Barnes, Jo; Chatterton, Tim; Hayes, Enda T; Irwin, J. G.; Olowoporoku, A. O.


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Dr Jo Barnes
Associate Professor of Clean Air

Tim Chatterton

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Enda Hayes
Professor in Air Quality and Carbon Management

J. G. Irwin

A. O. Olowoporoku


C.A. In Brebbia


The UK has operated a sophisticated Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) regime since 1997. This comprises two distinct phases: Review and Assessment and Action Planning. The Review and Assessment is the diagnostic phase and concludes with declaration of an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) where Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) are exceeded, which then initiates the Air Quality Action Plan intended to provide solutions to the identified problems. More than half of UK local authorities have one or more AQMAs. Air Quality Action Plans are expected to define measures and timescales by which air quality in the AQMA will comply with AQOs. The main source of the air quality exceedence is traffic-related NO or PM . The Review and Assessment phase is effective at diagnosing air quality problems but the Air Quality Action Plan phase cannot yet be judged to be a successful policy intervention. Local authorities have limited powers to initiate direct actions amid concerns about the political impact of measures that will the process affect the car-driving public. In such circumstances local authorities have been unable to get traction on air quality management problems. Central to the LAQM regime is the division of responsibility between central government and local government. Whilst LAQM is a local responsibility, central government's has an overarching role in controlling the regime through framing the process, defining national goals, setting strategic directions, and ensuring appropriate resourcing for national and local actions. Despite this national process guidance and direction local authorities are failing to achieve local air quality improvements at the rate expected when LAQM was introduced. This paper considers the implications of two distinct policy disconnects present in the LAQM process. The first of which is that between the spatial and temporal diagnosis of poor air quality and the solution proffered in the Air Quality Action Plan. Secondly, the disconnection between local actions and the strategic direction and policy intentions offered by central government. A number of changes to the process of LAQM are recommended to reconnect the policy disconnections identified in this paper. © 2010 WIT Press. 2 10


Longhurst, J., Barnes, J., Chatterton, T., Hayes, E. T., Irwin, J. G., & Olowoporoku, A. O. (2010). Recalibrating the United Kingdom's local air quality management regime to deliver desired goals. In C. In Brebbia, & J. Longhurst (Eds.), Air Pollution XVIII (73-82). Southampton & Boston: WIT Press.

Publication Date Jan 1, 2010
Publisher WIT Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 73-82
Series Title WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment
Book Title Air Pollution XVIII
ISBN 9781845644505
Keywords United Kingdom, UK, air quality,
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