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22/05/2018

Gove launches Clean Air Strategy

Words: Laura Edgar
Amount of cow parsley impacting wildlife / iStock-176795725

Environment secretary Michael Gove has launched the government’s Clean Air Strategy, which states guidance for local authorities on how to tackle the effects of nitrogen dioxide on natural habitats.

The strategy, now out for consultation, aims to cut air pollution levels and will be backed up by new primary legislation.

These proposals are in addition to the government’s plans published in July last year to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

The government estimates that the strategy will reduce the cost of air pollution to society by £1 billion every year by 2020, rising to £2.5 billion every year by 2030.

Sensitive habitats have been taken over by robust nitrogen-loving plants, such as cow parsley, which has affected other wildlife, according to the strategy. It says there is evidence that there has been a decline in a number of different species of butterflies and bees because of the decline in the sensitive plants they rely on.

The strategy, which is part of the 25-year environment plan, states that the government is planning “comprehensive action to control ammonia emissions from agriculture” as well as action to improve the way the cumulative impact of nitrogen deposition on natural habitats is controlled.

To achieve this, the government will publish guidance aimed at local authorities that explains how cumulative impacts of nitrogen deposition on natural habitats should be mitigated and assessed through the planning system.

Further, the strategy explains that the “planning regime plays an important role in protecting habitats that are sensitive to nitrogen deposition from sources of ammonia emissions, such as animal houses and slurry stores”.

Consultation on the Clean Air Strategy 2018 closes on 14 August. It can be found on the UK Government website.

Image credit | iStock

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