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UK Leaders call for an Enhanced Clean Air Fund

 

A cross-party group of political leaders from across the country are calling for Government support to tackle air pollution. 14 Mayors and political leaders from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and the West of England Combined Authority have today joined forces to call for the Government to support a network of 30 new and existing Clean Air Zones, where the most polluting vehicles are fined. A report released by UK100, a network of local leaders, shows that towns and cities could see an economic return of £6.5bn with support from the Government to tackle illegal levels of air pollution.

The Royal College of Physicians has assessed that the costs attributed to health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution are more than £20bn per year.  The group are urging the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid to make an enhanced Clean Air Fund the centrepiece of a Spending Round in support of the NHS, which is due to be published on 4 September.

With air pollution contributing to up to 36,000 deaths a year, the research shows that adequately funding existing Clean Air Zones and introducing new ones, which would charge the most polluting vehicles to enter towns and cities, could provide a boost to our health and the economy. (1)

A national network of up to 30 Clean Air Zones across England, including London, could be enhanced and unlocked if an additional £1.5bn is committed from Government and business to tackle air pollution in the most polluted towns and cities. This would bring together £1bn in the upcoming Spending Round alongside £500m from business contributions. (2) This would allow Clean Air Zones to be introduced in all of the places the Government warns will have illegal levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) by 2021. This includes towns and cities across the country such as Bristol, Coventry, Guildford, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Southampton.

The initial results from the UK’s first Clean Air Zone are encouraging. A report into the impact of London’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) introduced in April this year shows that the numbers of older, polluting vehicles has reduced by over a quarter. (3)

Currently only six local authorities have plans to introduce such zones.(4) For existing and upcoming zones such as in London and Birmingham, it would support enhanced Vehicle Renewal schemes to support residents and small businesses to switch to cleaner transport.

A survey by Hitachi from earlier this year showed that a majority of the public are in favour of Clean Air Zones, with 50% supporting plans to charge motorists to enter a zone, while only 22% disagree. (5)

Under the UK100 plan, lower income residents and small businesses would be offered incentives of between £2,000 and £6,000 to either upgrade existing vehicles or get rid of their older, polluting vehicles and switch to a cleaner form of transport such as electric vehicles or public transport. As well as support for buying an ‘ultra low emissions’ vehicle, the cash could also be put toward car clubs, bike hire schemes or a public transport season ticket.

The report calls for a partnership with industry to contribute to a national vehicle renewal scheme, similar to how car manufacturers have contributed to the German Government’s Sustainability Mobility Fund for cities. London has received commitment from third party organisations (e.g. car clubs) for additional funding to support its car scrappage scheme

Financing Energy in the Greater South East

UK100, BEIS and the Greater South East Energy hub partnered to host the ‘Financing Energy in the Greater South East’ workshop on June 18th. The event was held in Cambridge and was the first in a series of regional workshops aimed at encouraging investment in local energy across the U.K.

The workshop was sponsored by SSE and Walker Morris.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of the upcoming workshops in either the Midlands, South West, North West or North East please contact localenergy@uk100.org.

Prior to the workshop UK100 compiled a survey to analyse the current state of the pipeline in the Greater South East. The survey results can be viewed in full below:

UK100 GSE Investing in Local Energy Survey.

The leader of Cambridge City Council, Cllr Lewis Herbert, opened the workshop and stated the council’s desire to work locally to implement the Cambridge Climate Strategy: 2016- 2021, with an aim of being carbon neutral by 2030.

The first panel focused on developing investable projects and exploring the experiences of local authorities that have developed successful low carbon energy projects.

The panel was comprised of:

Chair: Victoria Bradley, Director, Energy, Infrastructure & Government, Walker Morris LLP

 

Victoria Fletcher, Environment and Heritage Manager, Oxfordshire County Council
Delivering the Energy Strategy

Sheryl French, Project Director, Mobilising Local Energy Investment, Cambridgeshire County Council
Managing Investment Risk

Daire Casey, Business Development Manager, West Sussex County Council
First Steps in Investing in Energy Assets

Jennifer Belk, Commercial Project Development Manager, SSE Enterprise
Private Sector Perspective

 

The second panel centered on sourcing private finance and building understanding of the different types of private finance models available and bridging this with the needs of public sector low carbon projects.

The panellists for the second session were:

Chair: George Robinson, Investment and Finance, Heat Networks Delivery Unit, BEIS

 

Daniel Carrico, Head of Origination, Allia

 

Peter Hobson, Director EMEA, Sustainable Development Capital
– SDCL Energy Efficiency Investments

Claire Hanratty, Chief Executive, Leapfrog
Bridge Finance and Council Projects

Charlotte Eddington, Investments Director, Abundance

 

The upcoming workshops are invitation only and if you are interested in attending one in either the Midlands, South West, North West or North East please contact localenergy@uk100.org.

 

Study shows 8 year olds could die 7 months early due to air pollution

  • Research considers health impact in UK’s second biggest city, Birmingham
  • Air pollution impact is felt well beyond the boundary of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone
  • The cost of air pollution in Birmingham estimated to be up to £470 million a year 
  • UK100 network of local leaders supporting plans for Clean Air Zones in major urban areas

New research commissioned by UK100, a network of local leaders, today demonstrates the human cost of air pollution. The studyshows that an eight year old child (born in 2011) could die up to seven months early if exposed over their lifetimes to air pollution.

The research, which was conducted by King’s College London on behalf of UK100, is based on analysis of data from across the UK’s second biggest city, Birmingham.

This is the first time that new government guidance on “mortality burdens” of air pollution developed by a government advisory committee (COMEAP) have been applied in practice in a large city area. The study looks at the combined impact of PM2.5 (particulate matter) and NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide), two of the leading causes of poor health from air pollution. These pollutants could cause up to 36,000 deaths across the UK every year, and contribute to a wide range of health conditions including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

The report calculates that the annualised health impact of air pollution in Birmingham is up to £470 million every year. The impact of air pollution is considered to be worse than some other major cities in the UK –  the report says there is a higher loss of life expectancy in Birmingham than in Manchester, which was also recently studied by King’s College London. Overall, the excess mortality cost to the UK of air pollution has been estimated at between £8.5bn and £20.2bn a year.

Men are more likely to be affected than women and deprivation is thought to play a significant factor in the impact of air pollution, with higher levels of deaths in poorer areas of Birmingham. Nearly half of Birmingham’s children live in the 10% most deprived areas in the country – with nearly 8,000 living in the 1% most deprived areas, according to a report by the Children’s Society.

Like other cities across the UK, Birmingham City Council is planning to introduce a ‘Clean Air Zone’ in 2020 in order to tackle pollution from transport vehicles (primarily NO2) alongside a range of measures to address the pollution from particulate matter (PM2.5).

Polly Billington, Director of UK100, a network of local leaders that campaigns on clean air, said:

“This report should be a wake up call to policy makers not just in Birmingham but across the country. We need to tackle this invisible killer which is cutting the lives of children and causing health misery for thousands of adults. By working together, local councils and central government can put in place ambitious and inclusive Clean Air Zones to tackle the most polluting sources of dirty air and let us breathe freely.”

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Birmingham City Council, said:

“As a father of young children myself, these findings are absolutely shocking. They demonstrate the sheer scale of the major public health crisis we are dealing with in Birmingham today.

“One life cut short by poor air quality is one too many, so this is exactly why the city is taking forward measures such as the Clean Air Zone and why we continue to work with other cities across the country to tackle this problem together, but we also need strong leadership on this issue at a national government level.”

Sue Huyton, coordinator of the Clean Air Parents’ Network which covers Birmingham, said: “It’s awful that children living in the UK are breathing air that may shorten their lives. As a parent, you want to do everything you can for your children, but when it comes to air pollution you can feel helpless – that’s why those in power must step up. We need the government and Birmingham City Council to take ambitious action to tackle the toxic air in this city, and we need them to do it now.”

Dr David Dajnak, Principal Air Quality Scientist, King’s College London, said: “This study highlights that reducing Birmingham’s air pollution should provide Brummies with important health benefits.”

UK100 is supporting major cities across the country including Birmingham to introduce ambitious ‘Clean Air Zones’ to tackle air pollution from polluting cars, HGVs, vans and buses. This would encourage residents and businesses to shift away from older polluting vehicles to other forms of transport including ultra low emissions vehicles such as electric cars and vans, as well as bikes, walking and public transport.

A number of cities are planning to introduce Clean Air Zones, and London’s ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) introduced earlier this year has already had an impact on reducing air pollution. An impact report on the first month of the ULEZ shows that the numbers of older, polluting vehicles has reduced by over a quarter.

The study was focused on air pollution changes within the Birmingham city area.  Reductions in emissions will also have benefits for air pollution concentrations in the wider Greater Birmingham and West Midlands region.  For example, reductions in NOx emissions will reduce nitrate concentrations and thus PM2.5 concentrations in the wider region.

UK100 represent a cross-party group of local authorities and elected mayors from across the UK are calling for Clean Air Zones to be introduced in major towns and cities in the UK. The group are also calling for tough new legislation to be introduced by The Government to tackle air pollution as part of a new Environment Bill. This would include:

  • Adoption of World Health Organization recommended air pollution limits as legally binding targets to be achieved by 2030.
  • Creation of an adequately funded and empowered, independent watchdog to hold the Government’s actions on air quality and other environmental issues, including Climate Change, to account
  • Granting Local Authorities the powers they need to deliver zero-emission transport networks.
  • Setting and enforcing ambitious standards for local air quality, including for solid fuel stoves and setting energy efficiency standards including for existing buildings.
  • Establishing local powers to set and enforce emission zones for non-road mobile machinery such as construction equipment.
  • Requiring action from private and public bodies to improve air quality, such as ports, Highways England, Homes England, Environment Agency and Directors of Public Health.

Areas of Birmingham most affected by air pollution 

The results varied by constituency with highest in Erdington and lowest in Hall Green. The ranking by constituency did not fully follow the ranking in pollutant concentrations. This is because the results are also influenced by variations in death rates by constituency, which in turn are driven in part by the proportion of elderly in the population and the level of deprivation. These are based on figures as of 2011 (most recent data available).

The report provides figures for both PM2.5 and NO2 separately but then uses one or the other as the best indicator pollutant rather than adding results together to avoid any overestimation (details in the full report). The ‘best indicator’ approach may result in a small underestimate.”

Zone Anthropogenic PM2.5 and NO2 – Attributable Deaths
Erdington 75-91
Hodge Hill 69-85
Yardley 65-81
Selly Oak 56-72
Sutton Coldfield 56-72
Perry Barr 56-69
Ladywood 50-60
Northfield 49-64
Edgbaston 47-59
Hall Green 46-57
Birmingham City Total 570-709
Mapping the UK’s journey to 100% clean energy by 2050 Local Power Map

Mapping the UK’s journey to 100% clean energy by 2050 Local Power Map

All around us people are making smarter, cleaner decisions about how they use and generate energy. From installing electric vehicle charging points to solar arrays on the top of shopping centres, our country is gradually weaning itself of fossil fuels.

But some of this is invisible and many small efforts can be hidden. So UK100 is supporting local leaders

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