Following consultation, the Government has released its Clean Air Strategy designed to tackle all sources of pollution. It recognises that “it is exposure to high concentrations of pollutants that is most likely to directly result in adverse impacts. These impacts are cumulative, so we need to think about reducing exposure at all stages of life”
The Strategy sets out commitments across various sectors to achieve this although the detail of any guidance is not yet available. This is likely to have impacts on new developments and how their impacts are assessed.
The key actions set out in the Strategy that relate to new developments are:
- Government commitment to publish guidance for local authorities explaining how cumulative impacts of nitrogen deposition on natural habitats should be mitigated and assessed through the planning system;
- To work with Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to strengthen the planning practice guidance on air quality to ensure planning decisions help to drive improvements in air quality;
- To explore the use of environmental permitting for sectors with significant non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) emissions where appropriate;
- To encourage the use of the cleanest modes of transport for freight and passengers
REC has already taken the Strategy into account in its advice and will continue to advise developers and local planning authorities from the onset of projects on the requirements and implications of emerging guidance to ensure compliance and successful outcomes to their schemes.