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City region transport chiefs demand government leadership on air quality

Words: Huw Morris
Vehicle pollution / Shutterstock

City region transport authorities have called on the government to show leadership on air quality and force major bodies to reveal their moves to cut pollution.

In a letter to the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), the Urban Transport Group, which represents the UK’s seven largest urban transport authorities, says Highways England and Network Rail should be legally required to set out their strategies for tackling air pollution.

The group also argues that the NHS needs to be “part of the solution rather than part of the problem” on air quality, adding that it must consult transport authorities when making decisions on healthcare facilities to minimise negative impacts on health, the environment and communities.

Transport authorities say that part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 should be implemented so that local authorities can enforce moving traffic offences to reduce “the idling and stop-start conditions that cause congestion and a build-up of toxic air”.

“City region transport authorities are working hard to improve air quality on tight timescales and on tight budgets,” said group director Jonathan Bray. “If we are to hit these targets we need the government to work more closely with us to crack some of the practical obstacles that stand in our way.”

The group is made up of Merseytravel, Nexus, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London, Transport for West Midlands and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Image credit | Shutterstock