National Air Pollution Control Programme (UK)

Published yesterday (1st April 2019) the National Air Pollution Control Programme (NAPCP) sets out measures and analysis for how emission reduction commitments can be met across the UK. The document (which is a lengthy series of tables spanning 60+ pages) is here.

The NAPCP sets out how the UK can meet the legally binding 2020 and 2030 emission reduction commitments (ERCs). These commitments apply for 5 pollutants:

• nitrogen oxides

• ammonia

• non-methane volatile organic compounds

• particulate matter

• sulphur dioxide

This programme is required under The National Emission Ceilings Regulations 2018 (which give effect to EU law on this topic).

The programme identifies the UK air quality framework to be derived from a mixture of domestic, EU and international legislation and consists of three main strands:

(1) Legislation regulating total national emissions of air pollutants – the UK is bound by both EU law (the National Emission Ceilings Directive) and international law (the Gothenburg Protocol to the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution);

(2) Legislation regulating concentrations of pollutants in ambient air;

(3) Legislation regulating emissions from specific sources such as legislation implementing the Industrial Emissions Directive, Medium Combustion Plant Directive, and the Clean Air Act.

The programme mentions Directive 2008/50/EC of 21 May 2008, on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe which sets objectives for the following pollutants; sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides, particulate matter (as PM10 and PM2.5), lead, benzene, carbon monoxide and ozone (and applies to the UK).

Plus, Directive 2004/107/EC of 15th December 2004, relating to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air, covers the four elements cadmium, arsenic, nickel and mercury, together with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) including benzo[a]pyrene.

The programme mentions the UK National Air Quality Strategy, published in 1997 under the Environment Act 1995 (the last time a UK-wide Environment Act was enacted). This Strategy established objectives for eight key air pollutants, based on the best available medical and scientific understanding of their effects on health, as well as taking into account relevant developments in Europe and the World Health Organisation. These Air Quality Objectives are at least as stringent as the limit values of the relevant EU Directives – in some cases, more so. The most recent review of the Strategy was carried out in 2007.

The programme details the steps taken since in the devolved administrations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The programme sets out, in separate Tables, the progress made, targets and future measures.

The programme merits detailed reading, and it is too lengthy to summarise in full in this Blog post.

The programme does not mention the Environment Bill.

Domestic Burning (UK)

The UK government is consulting now on new controls to be brought in on wood and coal burning in domestic scale appliances and fireplaces.

The consultation asks for input on a range of questions, and states that new UK law will be brought in to restrict the sale of coal and wet wood.

This consultation is here.

This follows in from new voluntary guidance issued to farmers and agricultural contractors re ammonia emissions. This guidance is here.

National Emission Ceilings Directive (EU)

In 2011-2013 the Commission conducted a review of the EU air policy which resulted in the adoption of the Clean Air Policy Package. As part of the package, the Commission proposed a Clean Air Programme for Europe, updating the 2005 Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution in order to set new objectives for EU air policy for 2020 and 2030.

The main legislative instrument to achieve the 2030 objectives of the Clean Air Programme is new Directive 2016/2284/EU on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants which entered into force on 31 December 2016. This Directive sets national reduction commitments for the five pollutants (sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, ammonia and fine particulate matter) responsible for acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone pollution which leads to significant negative impacts on human health and the environment.

The new Directive repeals and replaces Directive 2001/81/EC, the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive) from the date of its transposition (30 June 2018) ensuring that the emission ceilings for 2010 set in that Directive shall apply until 2020. Directive 2016/2284 also transposes the reduction commitments for 2020 taken by the EU and its Member States under the revised Gothenburg Protocol and sets more ambitious reduction commitments for 2030 so as to cut the health impacts of air pollution by half compared with 2005.

Directive 2016/2284/EU is here. A Q&A about the Directive is here.

Some customers have already requested this Directive or have the Directive already. The national implementing regulations will be inserted into the ENV Air Register. Email Alerts will be sent out. If you need this Directive (and it’s local implementing regulations), please email me direct.

The role of the Member States in coordinating and implementing the Directive at national level is very important. Member States must transpose the Directive into national legislation by 30 June 2018 and produce a National Air Pollution Control Programme by 2019 setting out measures to ensure that emissions of the five main air pollutants are reduced by the percentages agreed by 2020 and 2030.  They must also coordinate with plans in fields such as transport, agriculture, energy and climate.

The Commission will work with Member States to ensure sound implementation, for example by setting up a new Clean Air Forum by autumn 2017. This will bring together stakeholders to exchange experience and good practice. The Commission will also facilitate access to EU funding instruments.

BREXIT : the UK has enacted implementing regulations (in force 1st July 2018) – here

The obligations rest with national implementing authorities, the new National Emission Ceilings Directive does not create direct obligations for facility managers or owners.

Transport (Scotland) Bill (Scotland)

A new Transport Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 8 June 2018.

The Bill is divided into 6 parts.

Part 1 of the Bill introduces the concept of low emission zones, which are set up under low emission zone schemes. A low emission zone scheme is a scheme under which individuals driving vehicles which fail to meet specified emission standards will be prohibited from driving those vehicles in contravention of the terms of the scheme within a designated geographical area. Where a person breaches this rule, a penalty charge will be payable unless the vehicle is exempt. Exemptions will be set out in regulations but are likely to include, for example, emergency service vehicles. The scheme itself may also make provision for the local authority operating the scheme to grant exemptions in certain circumstances.

Low emission zones are already in place in London. Further low emission zones may be introduced in England as a result of the Air Quality Strategy consultation. I have posted before on this (as part of DEFRA initiatives).

There has been talk of the Bill containing provisions that would enable local authorities to charge for workplace car parking. These provisions are not in the Bill.

A workplace car parking levy is in place in Nottingham (the English law permits this). Further information is here.

The Transport (Scotland) Bill is found here.

New Vehicle Emission Charges (London)

From Monday, the new T-Charge (Toxicity Charge) will apply in London’s congestion charge zone. This will apply to cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy good vehicles. The daily T-Charge will be additional to the Congestion Charge. The T-Charge will end when the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is in force (April 2019). The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The ULEZ standards will be additional to the Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone requirements at that time. 

Further Information is here

Congestion Charge and T-Charge hours of operation : Monday – Friday, 07:00 – 18:00 – excludes Bank Holidays and the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day inclusive.

Vehicles included

Cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and HGVs, motorised caravans and horseboxes, breakdown and recovery vehicles, private ambulances, motor hearses, dual purpose vehicles and other specialist vehicle types that do not meet the minimum Euro emission standards are subject to the T-Charge. These standards are for cars – Euro 4 (see the further information link). 

Exemptions

Motorcycles, mopeds and scooters that are exempt from the Congestion Charge are also exempt from the T-Charge. 

Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge and the T-Charge when actively licensed with TfL. The exemption for PHVs only applies to private hire bookings.

Other exemptions include : 

(1) Vehicles with a historic tax class (40 years and older) and/or commercial vehicles manufactured before 1973. These vehicles continue to be subject to the Congestion Charge

(2) Two-wheeled motorbikes (and sidecars) and mopeds that are exempt from the Congestion Charge

(3) Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines, which have a taxation class of ‘ambulance’ or ‘fire engine’ on the date of travel

(4) NHS vehicles exempt from vehicle excise duty, and Ministry of Defence vehicles

(5) Roadside recovery vehicles and accredited breakdown vehicles registered for a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge

(6) Specialist off-road vehicles such as tractors and mobile cranes (that are exempt from Low Emission Zone)

Motorised tricycles and quadricycles that are subject to the Congestion Charge are also affected. Motorcycles are not subject to the T-Charge.
9+ seater vehicles that are currently registered for a discount or are exempt from paying the charge will need to meet the required emissions standards or pay the T-Charge.

Vehicle type approvals (EU)

From 1st September 2017, new car models will have to pass new and more reliable emissions tests in real driving conditions. 

The EU press release is here.

Please note the EU has initiated infringement proceedings (enforcement actions) against a number of member states including the UK, for their failure to fulfill their obligations under EU vehicle type approval legislation. 

The EU press release is here.

The European Commission is also working to ensure the application of EU air quality rules. In this regard, it has launched infringement procedures against 16 Member States in breach of ambient NO2 limit values.

Medium Combustion Plants and Generators (UK)

The Medium Combustion Plant (European) Directive (MCPD) is an instrument targeted at reducing air pollution by bringing in emission controls for combustion plants in the 1-50MWth range. 

The MCPD was supported by the UK as it will deliver a cost-effective improvement in air quality. The Directive requires all plants in scope to be registered or permitted and sets limits on the levels of pollutants that these plants can emit according to their type, size, age, fuel type and annual operating hours. It also requires operators to test emissions from their plants to demonstrate compliance with emission limits. The MCPD must be transposed into UK law by 19 December 2017. The controls will apply to new plants from December 2018. Existing plants must comply with requirements from 2024 or 2029, depending largely on size. Full implementation will be achieved in 2030. This legislation will be implemented in the UK

The European MCPD will be added to ENV Air in the Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists.

Consultation has occurred in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The consultation response is published (England and Wales) here

England : the Environment Agency will be appointed as the regulator in England. For higher risk plants, where the impact on local air quality must be assessed to determine permit conditions, Local Authorities will be consulted. The Environment Agency will consult on fees and charges as part of its strategic review of charges. 

Wales : the Welsh government is considering the matter of regulatory responsibility in relation to plant in Wales.

Note

(1) not all less than 1MW plant will be permitted

(2) control will be via the Environmental Permitting regime (England and Wales), there will be no change to other legislation