Liverpool to run city-wide air quality awareness campaign

Liverpool city council is developing a city-wide awareness campaign to promote air quality issues, as well as preparing to hand council officers powers to fine drivers who fail to switch off their engines.

These proposals, and other work to tackle air pollution in the North Western city will be highlighted at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Friday (6 April), at which councillors will be asked to approve the delegation of powers to officers over anti-idling enforcement.

Liverpool city council is one of 33 local authorities brought into the scope of the government’s air quality plan following a High Court ruling this year

Liverpool council is one of the local authorities pulled into the scope of the government’s air quality plan following the latest High Court ruling on the issue in February – and is now required to submit a feasibility study to determine whether it can speed up compliance with air quality limits, by the end of July (see airqualitynews.com story).

In a report published ahead of Friday’s meeting, council officers reveal that the city, along with Merseytravel and the Liverpool City Region have already commissioned a feasibility study, due to report back at the end of March, which will detail a range of measures to improve air quality in the city.

Compliance

The report adds: “It is important to note the Defra compliance work only focusses on minimal compliance at small areas of the road network where there are modelled exceedances of the annual average limit for Nitrogen Dioxide, regardless of whether that area is close to people who may be affected. This is a short term focus from DEFRA to support the Government in achieving the targets set by the EU and comply with recent High Court rulings.

“This is in contrast to the wider City Council’s strategic approach which focusses on meaningful long term actions to improve air quality to protect the most vulnerable citizens living or working close to the sources of air pollution. And also to focus on a range of wider policy changes to raise public awareness of the issues and what citizens can do to help improve air quality and to protect themselves.”

Work implemented by the authority to date has included the development of an awareness raising programme for the city, to inform residents about the impact of air pollution on their health and the actions they can take to ‘positively’ improve air quality within the region. This will coincide with campaigning to take place on the national Clean Air Day on June 21.

Anti-idling

Also to be discussed are proposals to enforce anti-idling fixed penalty notices (FPNs) by local authority officers, using powers delegated under the Road Traffic (Vehicle emissions) (Fixed Penalty) Regulations.

Should the move be approved, officers will be given the authority to issue a £20 FPN for any person who refuses to switch off their engine when requested. This could then escalate to a £40 penalty, if the driver fails to pay the fee within 28 days.

The council’s report adds: “The Idling enforcement work would be carried out through existing enforcement programmes to raise awareness and reduce emissions and it is anticipated that most drivers will comply with the request removing the requirement to serve an FPN. It is not anticipated the introduction of this measure will derive significant income as the £20 FPN barely covers the costs associated with serving and administering it. Any small amounts raised will be reinvested into the awareness raising work.”