By Peter Makossah
Nottingham is among a few top local authorities in the UK leading the way in integrating climate and clean air policies in the country amid political hurdles as the ministers’ “refusal to recognise the importance of joined-up policy making” is slowing down the wider progress.
Efforts to increase the uptake of Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs) are now beginning to show results in the city, however, ULEVs currently account for only less than 0.5% of all Nottingham’s vehicles.
To achieve the 2028 carbon neutrality ambition, it will be necessary for Nottingham to almost entirely replace existing fossil-fuel based Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles with ULEVs.
UK100’s new report, which Mojatu has seen, argues that Nottingham and Birmingham in the midlands, Camden, Hertfordshire in the South, and Leeds up in the north, are leading the pack in integration of climate and clean air policies.
“What CANZ be done?” follows the release of UK100’s “Yes We CANZ!” report in June 2022, which introduced the concept of “Clean Air Net Zero” (CANZ) — ensuring that the Net Zero policies include a clean air audit, and vice versa.
The report establishes that while 100% of Local Authorities surveyed are making efforts to integrate Clean Air and Net Zero in their transport plans, only 57% are doing so with their work on the heating and efficiency of their buildings.
“What CANZ be done?” follows the release of UK100’s “Yes We CANZ!”
This, also comes hot on the wheels, in the wake of a new study published in The Lancet that finds clean air and Net Zero action will give people in England and Wales an extra 2 million years of life.
The report further argues that not enough has yet been done to learn from the mistakes that led to Dieselgate, where diesel vehicles were promoted across Europe as a climate-friendly option without regard to the increase in deadly air pollution emissions associated with diesel combustion.
Nottingham City Council aims to be a carbon neutral city by 2028.
The City Council recognises that two air pollutants of concern, NO 2 and particulates (PM10 and PM2.5), are generated by the combustion of hydrocarbon/fossil fuels in air.
Thus, action to reduce carbon emissions has the co-benefit of reducing these air pollutants thereby improving local and regional air quality and protecting health.
Following a range of measures introduced by the City Council, air pollution levels have fallen by over 45% since at the beginning of the of the dawn of the new millennium in 2000 and to protect and improve citizen health, Nottingham developed and published the joint Nottingham City Council – Nottinghamshire County Council Air Quality Strategy (2020-2030).
The strategy’s range of measures highlights potential opportunities from CANZ alignment, for example encouraging and facilitating actions that deliver improved air quality with co-benefits e.g., active travel (health improvements from increased exercise and reduced carbon)36 and increased use of public transport.
Nottingham’s Carbon Neutral 2028 Action Plan37 also includes a number of specific goals which can deliver Clean Air benefits particularly from their transport-related objectives – such as reducing the need for people to travel by car, and increasing walking and cycling, building on successes such as the City Council’s Workplace Parking Levy.
The city continues to strive to thrive in “improving air quality and enhance the promotion of better land management and sustainable food and drink consumption in order to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in alignment to the objectives in the City Council’s Air Quality Strategy.
Implementation of the UK’s first Workplace Parking Levy and the construction of two new tram lines has led to 9.7 million additional public transport journeys each year.