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Greater London Authority Act 1999

Sections 362 to 369: Air Quality

551.The national air quality strategy sets air quality objectives derived from health based standards for eight pollutants: benzene, 1-3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, fine particles (PM10) and sulphur dioxide. These objectives, with the exception of ozone, were given statutory force by being prescribed in regulations made under section 87 of the Environment Act 1995. In August 1999, the Government published its draft air quality strategy following a review during 1998. The final version will be published in early 2000 and will replace the 1997 strategy.

552.A key tool for delivering the national air quality strategy is the system of local air quality management, introduced by Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. Under local air quality management, local authorities have a duty to assess air quality in their areas to determine whether prescribed objectives are likely to be met by 2005. Where a local authority considers that one or more of the objectives is not likely to be met as a result of national measures alone, it must declare an air quality management area and draw up an action plan identifying measures to achieve the objective(s).

553.The framework for improving air quality across Europe is set out in Directive 96/62/EC (Cm 3587) of 1997, which provides for limit values to be agreed for twelve pollutants. The first of the air quality daughter directives (1999/30/EC) sets limit values for four pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, particles, lead and sulphur dioxide and entered into force in July 1999. The European Commission have now also published their proposal for the second air quality daughter directive, relating to limit values for benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air. It is expected to be adopted during 2000.

554.Section 362 of the Act provides for the Mayor to prepare and publish a London air quality strategy, which will contain policies for implementing in Greater London the national air quality strategy and the standards and objectives prescribed under section 87 of the 1995 Act. The London air quality strategy must also contain information about current and likely future air quality in Greater London; the measures which are to be taken by the Greater London Authority, TfL and the London Development Agency for the purpose of implementing the London air quality strategy; and information about the measures which other persons or bodies are to be encouraged by the Mayor to take.

555.The Mayor’s strategy may also contain other air quality proposals and policies which the Mayor wishes to include. Although the Mayor may draw upon the work of local authorities, the London air quality strategy will not replace local authority functions under the system of local air quality management.

556.The London air quality strategy is a strategy for the purposes of sections 41 to 44 of the Act. Those sections make provision which applies to all of the Mayor’s strategies, and which require the Mayor to follow certain procedural steps in relation to strategies, including matters to which regard must be had, and persons he is required to consult. In addition to the consultees set out in section 42 of the Act, section 362 also requires the Mayor to consult the Environment Agency and local authorities which have a boundary with Greater London.

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