Clean Air Bill proposal to go before Parliament


London politicians are taking their campaign for a greener City to Parliament by calling for new legislation to improve air quality and punish motorists who let their engines idle.

The City of London wants law makers to get tough on polluting emissions from combustion plants such as boilers, generators, off-road mobile-machinery and combined heat and power plants.

It also wants to see a crackdown on idling engines, with fines going up from £20 to £100.

The Corporation’s remembrancer, Paul Double, whose job involves talking to government about legislation, said there would have to be a consultation about the proposed Clean Air Bill.

He told the port health and environmental services committee: “The idea is to undertake a formal consultation with interested parties, including other London boroughs.”

He said the proposed bill is likely to be introduced as a private members’ bill in the House of Lords and could start its passage through Parliament after Christmas.

Not all private members’ bills succeed in becoming law, however.

Alderman Nick Anstee wanted to know how the measures would be policed.

He said: “Air pollution goes hand in glove with noise pollution.”

He described how on his way to the meeting he had spotted delivery vehicles with engines and chiller units on.

“We have got to be tough,” he said.

Bishopsgate councillor Shavran Joshi, who is an energy consultant, warned there was “nothing commercially available” to reduce the carbon footprint of some power generation.

The proposed legislation would see tough rules coming into force in designated Air Quality Improvement Areas (AQIA), such as the Square Mile, where air pollution levels exceed World Health Organisation guidelines.

Gas boilers would be banned if they exceeded an emissions limit set by the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Mobile generators, construction equipment and stationary generators breaching limits would also be outlawed.

The City also wants it to be an offence to install solid fuel burners and combined cooling, heat and power plants if they exceed emission limits.

The committee gave its backing for consulting with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Greater London Authority, and the 32 London boroughs, and getting the green light from London Councils.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “These draft proposals for a private members’ bill have been considered by the port health and environmental services committee.

“A final decision will be made by the policy and resources committee on 15 November.”

Photo by Daniel Chapman (Creative Commons).