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National recognition for innovative pollution programme to lower emissions and increase liveability

May 2009

Defra’s Head of Atmospheric Quality and Industrial Pollution Programme Martin Williams has championed the Low Emission Strategies (LES) Partnership and emphasised the importance for transport planners, land use planners and environmental practitioners coming together in a coherent and complementary way. Martin will be making a key-note presentation at the forthcoming LES Policy and Practice seminar to be held in London on the 12th May.

Meanwhile, the Department for Communities and Local Government have provided a further high level vote of confidence in the partnership by awarding a second round of funding to support continued expansion of its work. An important aim for the May Seminar is to discuss how to apply these funds for maximum effect.

The LES partnership is working with 15 local authorities across England to support the delivery of LES. Many other authorities are watching developments with interest to see how similar strategies can be implemented in their own areas.

The primary aim for LES is to accelerate the uptake of low emission fuels and technologies in and around a development site. As such, they sit alongside and strengthen other transport emission mitigation options such as travel planning, smarter choices and the provision of public transport infrastructure. LES propose to support the wider adoption of low emission strategies by planning authorities and to encourage the use of well-established and more innovative measures.

Martin Williams commented: “Local air quality contributes significantly to quality of life and health and both transport planners and land use planners should be encouraged to consider the impacts of developments on air quality and the environment from conception through to completion and beyond. Wherever possible, transport planners and urban planners more generally by taking an imaginative longer-term view of the sustainable urban environment, can improve the liveability and quality of life in urban areas of the UK, with valuable benefits for air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental and health indicators.

“This is where LES are important. By concentrating attention on forward looking imaginative approaches to transport problems, involving fuels as well as technologies, we can begin to make a practical reality of transport solutions which benefit both local air quality and our emissions of greenhouse gases. Low emission strategies which ensure air quality, as well as climate change concerns, are at the heart of developments and that action is directed towards a coherent and agreed approach to delivering shared goals is a very welcome step forward.”

Rob Pilling, LES Programme Manager, said: “We are very keen to work with Defra to promote the adoption and use of low emission approaches. The LES Partnership already works with several local authorities and our approach is achievable and effective, especially when planners and environmental practitioners work well together. The LES model ensures that developments are designed with the lowest environmental impact. Now we hope to develop this model within Defra’s new guidelines and roll out the approach across all local authorities in England.”

Martin Williams added: “I want to ensure that the position I have as the leader of the air quality and industrial pollution programme in Defra is directed towards promoting a coherent and joined up strategy nationally which encourages, complements and supports action locally. All this work is very important and I am pleased to be able to promote it and would like to take the opportunity to support everyone who is working hard to deliver low emission strategies on the ground.”

To see Martin’s full response on LES click here

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