A new report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) which accused the British government of failing to adequately tackle air pollution has been dismissed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), sparking a big row over EU commitments.
The row broke out between environment secretary Caroline Spelman and the chairwoman of EA Joan Walley MP, after the government refused to accept a report accusing Defra of failing to adequately tackle air pollution. Defra formally disagreed with several recommendations made in an EAC report which was designed to help reduce nitrogen oxide (NO2) and PM10 pollution.
Particular concern was voiced over 17 of the UK's 43 air quality zones which are set to miss EU limit values for NO2 by 2015 under Defra's current air quality plans, even under a best-case scenario. However, Defra has hit back at the accusations, saying that environmental legislation is in place to deal with air quality in the UK.
"The committee is not correct to say that government has no measures in place to achieve NO2 limit values," said the response. "The government's air quality plans describe a significant number of measures that will contribute to reductions in emissions in air pollutants."
Posted by Joseph Hutton