Government tables show that Salford Council manages 48 roads with illegal pollution levels, ie with toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, and is one of the authorities ordered to produce a clean air local action plan.*
The Government's 'UK's plan for reducing roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations' puts the onus on local councils to sort out the health of their citizens who are currently breathing dangerous air.
"We will provide direct financial support to enable local authorities to develop and implement their plans, and pursue national measures to reinforce their efforts" the Government report states "And we will require those local plans to be developed and implemented at pace so that air quality limits are achieved within the shortest time possible.
"In developing their local plans to tackle the causes of air pollution, local authorities should consider a wide range of innovative options, exploring new technologies and seeking to support the government's industrial strategy so that they can deliver reduced emissions in a way that best meets the needs of their communities and local businesses" it adds.
Recommendations include 'changing road layouts at congestion and air pollution pinch points; encouraging public and private uptake of ULEVs; using innovative retrofitting technologies and new fuels; and, encouraging the use of public transport."
However, the report adds that "If these measures are not sufficient, local plans could include access restrictions on vehicles, such as charging zones or measures to prevent certain vehicles using particular roads at particular times."
The Government is to set up a £225 Implementation Fund with a 'competitive process' under which local authorituies can bid for support but has been slated by Friends of the Earth, which argues that the air quality plan will leave 'thousands breathing dangerous air in the North West'...
"Oldham is predicted to have illegal levels of air pollution until at least 2020 according to the Government's own figures but the latest government Air Quality Plan does not require them to take any action to fix this" the enviroment charity states "Conversely, Salford and Trafford are expected to produce a clean air local action plan, even though they are predicted to have an air pollution problem for the same length of time."
Friends of the Earth also criticises the Government for not introducing Clean Air Zones – areas in which the most polluting vehicles are charged to enter - preferring to merely task councils with producing more local plans, meaning more delays...
"Ministers know as well as anyone that Clean Air Zones are essential to give us breathable air fast" says Richard Dyer, Friends of the Earth North of England campaigner "The fact that they have not only not failed to introduce the best measure to protect people's health, but put in place no new measures at all, is an absolute scandal."
* In April, Greenpeace produced an interactive map showing Salford nurseries most affected by the polluted roads - see previous Salford Star article - click here
See also previous Salford Star article - Salford named as one of national pollution danger hotspots - click here