City Corporation pushes new thinking in air quality debate

The City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee has backed plans for a private members’ Bill introducing new thinking in the policy debate on air quality.

The City Corporation will consult with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Greater London Authority,London Councils, London Boroughs and other relevant stakeholders on the contents of the Bill, which it hopes will help develop new solutions for London’s local authorities to tackle air pollution.

The proposals for the Emissions Reduction Bill would allow a London local authority to designate itself as an ‘Air Quality Improvement Area’, when levels of air pollution are higher in the borough than World Health Organisation Air Quality Guidelines advise.

This would signal the borough’s intent to apply restrictions on the type of boilers and diesel generators, construction excavators and combined cooling, heat and power plants, which use a heat engine to produce electricity, heating and cooling. Together, these non-traffic sources of air pollution are known as ‘combustion plant’.

Any limits on the type of combustion plant would be set by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The proposed restrictions would not affect current appliances, ensuing that current owners would not be disadvantaged by the limits.

Data produced by the Greater London Authority shows that air pollution from combustion plant will exceed that of traffic in the centre of London by 2020.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:

“These proposals will help to broaden the debate on London’s fightback against air pollution.

“We have undertaken important work tackling traffic-based air pollution and we hope this Bill will introduce new thinking in the wider policy arena.

“Londoners are determined to see a major clean-up of the capital’s air. Working together we are taking action to make sure everybody is protected.”

Jeremy Simons, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, said:

“There is a real desire right across the capital for a major improvement in air quality.

“We are determined to protect the health of those who live, work and visit the City.

“These proposals will introduce fresh ideas into the debate and build on plans already delivering better air for Londoners.”

The proposed private members’ Bill is just one part of the City Corporation’s fightback against air pollution.

The organisation has launched a consultation on a pilot scheme limiting access to ultra-low emission vehicles at the southern end of Moor Lane, near Moorgate.

The authority’s Planning and Transportation Committee has backed plans to turn parts of the Square Mile into zero-emissions zones by 2022.

It has already banned the purchase of diesel vehicles for its own fleet of 300 vehicles, where there is a clean market alternative.

As well as working with businesses through its CityAir Programme, the City Corporation is leading a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling - and its new procurement rules have brought in tight restrictions on harmful emissions from construction equipment and generators.

This year, the City Corporation launched a clean air cargo bike delivery scheme helping City firms tackle toxic air pollution by shifting deliveries from diesel and petrol vans to cargo bicycles.

Its CityAir app provides over 27,000 Londoners with low pollution travel routes across the capital, with advice and alerts when air pollution is high.

In August this year the City Corporation announced new emissions-based charges for on-street parking in the Square Mile, targeting high polluting transport with higher charges while rewarding drivers of low emission vehicles with lower tariffs.


Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.