UK government urged to address air pollution from construction sites

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Air pollution from construction sites must be tackled, says Former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment

Matthew Pencharz, former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment, has called for more action in relation to air pollution from construction sites.

Pencharz urged the government to help create cleaner, greener construction sites by encouraging local authorities to introduce environmental regulations.

The statement followed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) publishing its consultation on the UK Air Quality Plan, which Pencharz said was disappointingly unambitious.

Construction emissions

The industry has worked to reduce its impact on the environment by sourcing sustainable materials and working to reduce emissions, but there is still more to be done. In London, seven per cent of emissions are due to construction equipment. This is having a major impact on air quality.

Clean technologies, such as batteries, could help reduce the amount of air pollution caused by the sector.

Regulations

Pencharz, who brought in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) regulations for construction equipment while he was Deputy Mayor of London for Environment, said: “It is disappointing that in its new consultation to deliver the reductions in air pollution the UK needs, the Government is not doing more to push the utilisation of clean technologies on construction sites to save both money and emissions and stimulate this high value manufacturing sector.”

The regulation was created in 2015 with the aim of cleaning up construction sites. However, the government consultation suggested regulations will only be brought in from 2019 for new machinery. This will leave thousands of older, high polluting machines in circulation.

Pencharz also said it was disappointing that other local authorities were not being targeted to bring in regulations as London has done. He urged the government to consider stronger enforcement powers for local authorities moving to regulate construction equipment in their area.

He added: “The challenge to deliver clean air creates a huge opportunity for the UK’s high value manufacturing sector but it does need reasonable and pragmatic regulation to stimulate the deployment of technologies, such as Off Grid Energy’s, which is delivering environmental and financial benefits in the construction and events industries. We feel the Government has missed a trick.”

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