What is the government doing?
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has the key role in controlling and managing air quality across the UK, through various strategies and regulatory regimes.
An Air Quality Strategy has been published on the GOV.UK website. This strategy, which describes air pollution as the ‘top environmental risk to human health’, outlines plans to reduce people’s exposure to toxic pollutants that damage human health and the environment such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia, particulate matter, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide.
It identifies areas of concern including road transport, industrial level burning of fossil fuels, intensive agricultural food production, heating homes and certain cleaning products, and outlines ways in which these pollutants could be addressed. It describes a way forward for work and planning on air quality issues and identifies potential new national policy measures which could give further health benefits and move closer towards meeting the strategy’s objectives.