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We’d like to share an alert from Biofuelwatch to encourage people to respond to Defra’s consultation on requirements for local authority monitoring and reporting of air quality. Please find more information from Biofuelwatch below, and a link to take part here: http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/defraalert/. The consultation ends on 13th September.

Air pollution in the UK reduces average life expectancy by two years and contributes to up to 200,000 early deaths every year,according to a government advisory body.  Biomass expansion alone has been predicted to cause the loss of up to 1.75 million life years by 2020, according to a study commissioned by the last Government.

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the Government is in breach of EU requirements to reduce air pollution levels.  Now Defra has come up with a plan: Instead of reducing air pollution, they want to cover it up by dismantling air quality monitoring and reporting across England.

In a consultation that runs until 13th September, Defra proposes four options which range from weakening to entirely abolishing requirements for local authority air quality monitoring and reporting.  Their preferred option would likely see less than 100 air quality monitors out of around 600 retained, according to Defra’s own Impact Assessment.  Defra claims that this will help local authorities focus on ‘actions’ rather than reporting and monitoring – but if there is no local data to show where air quality limits are being breached, there will (as far as the Government is concerned) be no need for action.
Without sufficient air quality data, communities will have no hope of stopping planning applications for polluting developments because of the risk they pose to public health – whether they are biomass power stations, waste incinerators, fossil fuel power stations or new roads.
 

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