Joint Report of the Director of Markets and Consumer Protection and the Remembrancer.
The Committee received a joint report of the Director of Markets and the Remembrancer which sought approval of London specific, focused proposals which would provide new adoptive powers for London local authorities to control emissions from combustion plant.
The Director of Port Health and Public Protection introduced the report adding that a resolution of the Audit and Risk Management Committee had been tabled at this meeting which asked that greater emphasis should be placed on the element of risk posed by air pollution to the health and wellbeing of local inhabitants. The Director advised that this would be incorporated as part of the revisions of the Air Quality Strategy in 2019.
The Remembrancer provided an overview of the timeline, explaining that following consultation, the proposals would be introduced as a private members bill in early 2019 with the intention of them either becoming law or informing policy.
A Member raised the point there were new boilers being installed at Golden Lane Estate and it was asked whether to reduce pollution, these could be made to comply with the tighter emission controls as set out in the report before Members. The Member also noted the emissions being produced from the bio mass system at St Giles Cripplegate Church.
In response, the Director of Port Health and Public Protection advised that officers were aware of past emissions issues with the biomass plant, and it was thought those issues had been resolved, but officers would investigate. With regards to the new boilers, officers agreed to look into this further, but advised that timing would be a factor and whether the installation would take place before the new legislation was passed.
The Director also responded to Members’ comments on addressing emissions from existing generators, advising that from a practical standpoint this would be difficult and therefore the primary focus of the proposals would be on new equipment being brought into the City and setting a standard to control emissions, particularly in areas with poor air quality.
In response to the proposal to increase fines for stationary idling vehicles from £20 to £100, Members queried whether there was scope to increase this further. The Director of Port Health and Public Protection noted this comment to include at discussion during the consultation stage.
Responding to some of the points raised, the Remembrancer explained that setting emissions limits would be a matter for the Secretary of State based on scientific evidence, and with regards to setting a level of fines for stationary idling vehicles, comparable fines issued by other Local Authorities for a similar level of offence would also need to be considered.
A Member commented that the bill could expand into other areas to address the air and noise pollution caused by lorries and motorbikes at London Wall, and stationary vehicle idling at the Barbican Estate. In response, the Director of Port Health and Public Protection advised that points such as these could be incorporated into the Air Quality Strategy in 2019 which would be brought to the Committee for discussion at a later date. He also advised that sufficient resources would be required for enforcement, and an uplift in the base level budget for the Air Pollution Team would be sought.
RESOLVED – That the Committee approve the principles of the proposals and grant authority to consult with the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Greater London Authority, London Boroughs and other interested parties, and to seek the assent of London Councils.