The City Corporation recognises the seriousness of the problem of air pollution in London. The capital’s poor air quality led to 1,000 hospital admissions a year for asthma and serious lung conditions between 2014 and 2016 and contributed to the deaths of more than 4,000 Londoners in 2019. The pandemic and resulting lockdowns saw a decline in road emissions, with a 40% drop in nitrogen dioxide in the City of London between 2019 and 2020.

However, throughout lockdown the pollutant most damaging to human health, fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less(known as PM2.5), remained at roughly the same level. The negligible impact on PM2.5 of such a significant reduction in transport activity highlights the importance of reducing non-road emissions.

As such, the City Corporation, in collaboration with London Councils, recently supported amendments to the Environment Bill which would create a new regulation system, granting discretionary powers to local authorities in England to reduce non-road emissions. Kindly tabled by Lord Tope, the amendments reflect provisions in the Emissions Reduction (Local Authorities in London) Bill, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Lord Tope in the last Session to give local authorities in London these powers. Please find enclosed a copy of the amendments.

In summary, they empower local authorities to control emissions from combustion plant, such asboilers, generators and construction equipment,if their area has air pollution above WHO guidelines and if they choose to declare their area an ‘Air Quality Improvement Area’. In any area so designated, the installation and/or use of certain types of highly polluting plant would be prohibited. The amendments would also increase the penalty fine for the stationary idling of a vehicle.

The City Corporation also works closely with the Port of London Authority (PLA) in tackling air and water pollution around the river. The City Corporation is supporting the PLA’s Air Quality Strategy through air quality monitoring along the Thames and is working with the PLA to pilot measures to reduce emissions from vessels using the river.