WIT Press

Air Quality Action Planning: Barriers To Remediation In Local Air Quality Management


Free (open access)





Page Range

139 - 150




382 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


J. H. Barnes, E. T. Hayes & J. W. S. Longhurst


This paper explores the operation of air quality action planning within the framework of UK air quality management with particular reference to the key actors and actions. The paper examines the intentions of action planning policy and reflects on the role of local government in achieving these intentions. A review of primary sources and peer-reviewed literature identifies some of the barriers to action plan implementation and explores why these barriers remain in place after more than a decade of action. As a nationally mandated but locally operated policy, it is argued that there is a mismatch between ambition, powers and effects. The paper concludes with an exploration of the opportunities to reconceptualise and re-energise the air quality action planning process in order to provide appropriate protection for public health. Keywords: local air quality management, action plans, NO2, local authorities. 1 Introduction Over the last 60 years the nature of air pollution in the UK has changed considerably in terms of its sources, its visibility and its management; though parallels can be drawn between then and now. The fatal Great Smogs of London and Manchester in the 1950s and early ‘60s were as a result of widespread urban industrial and domestic particulate emissions from coal-burning. The Clean Air Acts (1956 and 1968) gave local authorities the responsibility to declare Smoke Control Areas and legislated against the use of non-compliant fuels and appliances in domestic properties within these areas. Facilitated by coincident improvements in general living standards resulting from increased personal wealth and a widespread shift to natural gas for domestic heating and cooking,


local air quality management, action plans, NO2, local authorities.