Dudley’s air quality has improved dramatically since the 1950s when ‘clean air’ legislation was introduced to prevent air pollution episodes created by heavy industry and from the burning of coal. However, air pollution is still an issue today and poor air quality can affect health and everyday quality of life.
Nowadays the main sources of pollution in Dudley are emissions from road transport (including lorries, buses and cars). Petrol and diesel motor vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants, principally carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates (PM10), which have an increasing impact on urban air quality. High levels of pollution tend to be associated with busy main roads and junctions.
Under the Clean Air Act 1993, it is an offence to cause or permit emissions of 'dark smoke' from industrial or trade premises (includes building & demolition). Burning can be deemed to have taken place (without witnessing a bonfire) if the materials that have been burnt on the premises are likely to give rise to dark smoke, e.g. cable, paint, etc. Cable burning is also a specific offence unless authorised.
The Clean Air Act 1993 also enables local authorities to declare any part of their district as a Smoke Control Area.
The plug-in car grant scheme began in 2011, over 40,000 claims have been made and there are now a wide range of vehicles eligible for the grant. £200 million has been made available to continue the plug-in car grant from 2015 to 2020. The technology in the vehicles, and number of models available, has developed considerably since the technical requirements for the scheme were set, almost 5 years ago.
On 26 August 2015 the government announced that it would continue to provide current levels of support under the plug-in car grant cap.
The announcement confirmed that the plug in car grant will continue for all categories of qualifying ultra low emission vehicle. The grant is currently £4,500 although this may decrease in time.
The Domestic chargepoint scheme will also continued to run until the budget is exhausted. Private plug-in vehicle drivers can offset some of the upfront cost of the purchase and installation of a dedicated domestic recharging unit. Customers who are the registered keeper, lessee or have primary use of an eligible electric vehicle may receive up to 75% (capped at £700, inc VAT) off the total capital costs of the chargepoint and associated installation costs.
Since 1997 local authorities in the UK have been carrying out Air Quality Review And Assessment of air quality in their area. The aim of the review is to make sure that the national air quality objectives will be achieved. If a local authority finds any locations where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, it must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).