Transport group calls for clarity on air pollution

A transport innovation centre in the UK has issued a call for greater clarity about who is responsible for tackling the country’s air quality issues. On the UK’s first National […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A transport innovation centre in the UK has issued a call for greater clarity about who is responsible for tackling the country’s air quality issues.

On the UK’s first National Clean Air Day, TRL has released a white paper exploring the problem of air pollution in urban areas and the range of possible solutions to reduce the levels of harmful emissions people are breathing in.

Featuring opinions from government, academics and industry, the document suggests one of the main issues is ensuring a co-ordinated approach – with so many agencies involved, there is a lot of noise and no clear source of independent, unbiased information on which to base decisions.

This also presents the risk that no one group will take ownership or responsibility of the issue.

It concludes a cross-agency, holistic framework is needed, led by a strong, determined and fair co-ordinator, most likely at national government level.

TRL warns against simply pursuing the most promising developments, such as electric vehicles – it says this risks a ‘false start’ in the wrong direction and would waste time and money.

Professor Nick Reed, Director of TRL, said: “The problem is current and we in the UK must take immediate, short term action to reduce pollution; but as the world’s urban population grows, we also need to be investigating longer term measures to reconcile transport demands with the need to sustain towns and cities as pleasant and healthy places in which we can live and work.”