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Clean Air Strategy 2019

The Governments 'Clean Air Strategy 2019' released yesterday may be of interest to a wider audience than previous years as tough new goals, relating to use of biomass, public health, farming and rail transport, have become the focus.

Whilst the report includes strategies to continue the reduction in pollution caused by road transport and industrial level burning of fossil fuels, new strategies have also been set out which are likely to have a much more personal impact:

Biomass:

The report sets out strategies to impose greater legislative controls on emissions permitted from the use of biomass. The strategies proposed are intended to effect the broad spectrum of biomass use from coal plant conversions all the way through to domestic open fires and stoves.

Strategies to be explored include:

making coal-to-biomass power plant conversions ineligible for contracts for difference;

  • introduce data sharing between environmental regulators and pilot a cross-agency joint enforcement programme for RHI installations which impact air quality;
  • review a recent consultation on banning new RHI biomass applications in urban areas which are on the gas grid whilst also introducing mandatory maintenance checks for existing accredited installations; and
  • tighter controls on ammonia emissions from anaerobic digestion plants.

Public Health:

An area in which the Government wants to increase awareness is of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) contained in everyday household items such as carpets, paint, cleaning and personal care products.

The Government has outlined strategies that largely involve working with consumer groups and health organisation to :

  • improve awareness of the importance of effective home ventilation;
  • create lower VOC content products; and
  • possibly introduce a voluntary labelling scheme.

Farming:

The agriculture sector has been identified as the main source of ammonia emissions in the UK through its storage, land spreading and deposition of manures and slurries as well as its use of inorganic fertilisers. The report indicates that the Government will introduce:

  • regulations requiring farmers to adopt low emission farming techniques;
  • environmental permitting to the dairy and intensive beef sectors; and
  • a switch to use of less polluting fertilisers.

Rail Transport:

The Government has requested that the rail industry establishes a task force to establish ways in which the industry can be decarbonised with a goal of removing all diesel only trains by 2040 and reducing harmful emissions produced from the stations themselves.

The Government has identified that task force will need to look at:

  • how best to embrace new technologies and innovative ideas; and the potential for use of alternative energy sources such as hydrogen and batteries.

If you have any concerns arising from the release of this report please don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our team.

You can read the full report here.

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