Chief medical officer clears the air on road charging and pollution

06/03/2018

The chief medical officer for England has called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to agree with local authorities national standards for road charging if it were introduced, as part of her criticisms of the Government’s approach to tackling the issue of toxic air pollution.

The intervention comes shortly after the Government lost a third legal battle over the legality of its plans to tackle pollution, which has been linked to the deaths of 40,000 deaths a year in the UK.

Under an EU directive, the UK would face heavy fines running to hundreds of millions if it fails to bring air quality back within legally prescribed limits as soon as is practicable.

On average around 80% of NOx emissions in areas where the UK is exceeding NO2 limits are due to transport.

In her annual report, Professor Dame Sally Davies joined the choir of voices criticising the Government for putting all the responsibility on local authorities to address the issue.

She said: ‘The Government’s NOx plan is a good overall document but as it is aimed at local authority level, it may a) be implemented inconsistently, b) contribute to inequality, and c) contribute to complexity of local regulation for drivers. I recommend that future UK government national standards for air pollutants, developed within the next five years, should be increasingly stringent and driven by an ambition to protect human health.’

On the issue of road charging, which could present one way of restricting traffic, she said: ‘I recommend that Department for Transport should agree with local authorities standardised mechanisms and protocols for surveillance and road charging (if introduced), such that a) health data and local authority data may be better integrated; and b) vehicle drivers experience a simple system with consistency across England.’

In its joint submission to the Government’s consultation on its latest failed air quality strategy, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG) said the strategy continued ‘to fall short with disjointed interventions and the lack of clear policy’.

It added that ‘recent government initiatives and approaches are making it more difficult to improve air quality’.

TAG spokesman John Elliott said: ‘We don’t want to just get away with not paying a fine. This is a serious health issue and even if the levels of toxic NO2 are within the legal limits they are still dangerous levels.

‘It is unfair to place all the blame and fines on councils for this situation, especially as traffic on government’s strategic road network [managed by Highways England] creates these toxic emissions, particularly where extra traffic hits urban areas, which also creates urban congestion.’

Central government is responsible for the traffic on 2.3% of the road network but this accounts for more than 30% of the vehicle based pollution, the LGA said.

Mr Elliott said the pollution level on the SRN could actually be as high as 40% of NO2 due to haulage and diesel vehicles on the network and added that the Government was carrying out a major investment into adding extra capacity to the SRN

‘This policy is something that should be done for the country as a whole; It is for national government to do the strategy but they must listen as well as well as dictate. My concern is that joint working between technical officers and politicians is something that is being lost as a whole.’

A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson said: ‘We have received the report and are considering its recommendations. We will respond in due course.’

The DfT also aims to continue to press for a comprehensive approach at an EU level on emissions testing and suggested that EU policy on road transport’s contribution to air quality and climate change needs to be more joined up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

transport network jobs

Transport Coordinator

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 to £37,670
We have an exciting opportunity for 2 highly customer focused Transport Coordinators to work in the busy Camden Transport Team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Highway Electrical Supervisor (Highway Maintenance)

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,657 to £28,221
The post will support two Senior Lighting Engineers in leading and contributing to the delivery of the Street Lighting function for the Authority Bootle, Merseyside
Recuriter: Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

Flood Risk Management Engineer

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 to £36,876
We are currently seeking a Flood Risk Management Engineer who will have a lead role with the Flood Risk and Development Team Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal Improvements)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal improvement projects. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal System and Operations)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal systems and operations. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Engineer (Traffic Signals)

Lincolnshire County Council
£42,806 - £49,441
Do you want to lead, manage and motivate a team of engineers working at the cutting edge of technology? Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Nuisance Control Officer

Brent Council
£38,040 - £40,086 p.a. inc. + £4,800 shift allowance p.a.
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Rights of Way Search Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£7,188 - £7,327 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in maintaining, developing and promoting the Definitive Map for Bridgend Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Countryside Access Maintenance Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£12,644 - £13,015 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in ensuring that the local rights of way network is protected, well maintained and enjoyed... Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Principal Transport Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£37,320 to £40,198
The role will require close dialogue with developers and their agents and necessitate strong partnership working with District Councils... Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Major Highways Schemes Project Manager

Gloucestershire County Council
£39,002 - £44,697
We have great opportunities within our team responsible for delivering a growing major scheme portfolio. Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Project Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £33,136
Are you a qualified Highways Project Engineer? Would you like to work in the famous James Herriot area of natural beauty? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Officer Highways and Transport

North Yorkshire County Council
£28,2281 p.a.
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Regional Strategy Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
Band 15 – up to £41,846
Are you an experienced Transport Planner? Do you have exceptional communication skills to build relationships within teams? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Area Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £53,113 p.a. winter allowance plus 10% one off additional payment for exceptional candidates
Four Area Highway Managers roles available York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer – Major Development Applications

Somerset County Council
£33,136 to £37,107
We have a fantastic opportunity in Somerset within our Highways Development Management team. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Communications Manager - North London Heat & Power Project

Camden London Borough Council
£40,028 to £46,431
We have an exciting new opportunity for an enthusiastic and talented individual to join us and be part of a team... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Commissioner for Passenger Transport Services

Somerset County Council
£45,216 per annum
You will be responsible for the development of long-term policy, strategy, plans and programmes for passenger transport Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Technician(s) / Assistant Engineer

Darlington Borough Council
£16,755 - £29,909 Annually
As part of a team you will be involved in the management and improvement of the highway network Darlington, Durham
Recuriter: Darlington Borough Council

Business Analyst

Camden London Borough Council
£44,612 - £51,751
We’re seeking an intelligent and future focused Business Analyst to join the Parking Operations team. London
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Tag Cloud

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • DfT meets the data challenge
  • The procurement problem
  • Cold Comfort special

 

View the latest issue

Latest Video