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Government highlights role for
LES Partnership in tackling air quality

December 2010

EAC ResponseIn response to an enquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee, the Government emphasised the role for Local Authority Partnerships in tackling air pollution, and specifically identified the work of the Low Emission Strategies Partnership.

The Environmental Audit Committee published its report on air quality in the UK on 22 March 2010. It highlighted the serious health impacts of poor air quality, which may contribute to 50,000 premature deaths per year in the UK, more than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity.

The Government’s response, presented to Parliament on 22nd November, recognises the need to balance central guidance and direction with the benefits of local authorities working together. The LES Partnership was held up as the best example of such collaboration. The Partnership pools local authority resources and expertise to develop tools and disseminate best practice. Low Emission Strategies target transport emissions to improve local air quality, and also to reduce greenhouse gases. The Partnership’s focus on emission reductions (rather than the more traditional concentration-based approach) enables clear links to be made with climate change policies, using language and concepts that are common to both.

As the drive towards greater localism unfolds in a climate of public funding cuts, the role for such Partnerships will become increasingly important. Gary Mahoney, Vice Chair of the LES Partnership said "we are very pleased that the Government has recognised the role that the Low Emission Strategies Partnership has played to date, and wishes to continue to work with us to encourage local authorities to develop strategies based around emissions reduction that could deliver real health gains"

The Environmental Audit Committee report and all submissions are available here

View Government Response here

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