Supporting the Development of Air Quality Plans

2nd April 2019

We are working alongside Bureau Veritas (BV), AECOM and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) to help Broxbourne Borough Council develop air quality plans.

The European Ambient Air Quality Directives specify the concentration of air pollutants that are acceptable for air quality to be at a healthy level. Countries across Europe, including the UK, are struggling to make sure that their air quality is in line with these standards.

Broxbourne Borough Council has been classed as one of the third wave local authorities. This means that there are shorter-term NO2 problems with occasional incidences where  NO2 concentration is above the legal limit, which should reduce to continuous safe concentration in the next ten years due to natural fleet turnover. In the meantime the council is developing a nitrogen dioxide plan, which aims to put in place a series of measures to reduce the incidence of air pollution in the area in the shortest possible timeframe.

The development of the plan is being led by Bureau Veritas, with our consultants working alongside them to help the council develop a business case. Broxbourne has already carried out a feasibility study, and has been given the go-ahead from the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) to develop a business case for an air quality plan, which will examine a range of potential options for mitigating air pollution across the region, using options appraisals to decide which actions to take forward for potential funding and implementation.

The business case has five elements: economic, commercial, financial, management and strategic. We are leading on the economic and financial cases, comparing the economic and financial impacts of air pollution reduction under different options, as well as looking at the distributional impacts of these options. These are the economic impacts that implementing the plans will have on local residents and businesses: for example, requiring businesses to upgrade their vehicle fleet would result in a cost for new vehicles, which results in a negative distributional impact for the proposal. These are, in general, unavoidable – our consultants are therefore examining which options result in the smallest negative distributional impact while maximising the health and economic benefits. The UK’s Clean Air Fund is one of the sources of money available to support those who are financially impacted by clean air initiatives, with Southampton and Birmingham using the fund to support the introduction of Clean Air Zones.

We are also inputting into other areas of the council’s air quality plans alongside our work on the economic and financial cases.

Our Senior Environmental Economist, Tanzir Chowdhury, said:

 “It is great to be helping Broxbourne to take the next steps in improving air quality in the local area. Our economic analysis will ensure that the options implemented by the council have a positive economic effect for businesses and individuals across the region, as well as ensuring that clean, safe air is available to all residents.”

Picture courtesy of Kevin Desoisa, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.