Councils would focus on pollution trouble spots under proposed legislation

New proposals for air pollution legislation, which is to undergo three months of consultation, is designed to allow local authorities to use risk-based assessments to decide how much time and effort they need to devote to individual sources of air pollution.


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The proposal, published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), includes a safety-net minimum inspection frequency of one full inspection a year for the lowest risk sites. The Department is looking for feedback from interested parties on a risk assessment method that is based on the principles of Operator and Pollution Risk Assessment (OPRA) for IPC processes, but is intended to be less subjective.

According to the Government, the proposal has the potential to achieve a reduced burden on local authorities without loss of environmental protection, reduced regulatory burden on business, an incentive for improved environmental performance, improved transparency, and consistency.

“I am enthusiastic about finding ways to make regulation more targeted; consistent with proper environmental protection,” said Environment Minister Michael Meacher. “This report suggests that this can be achieved for the Local Air Pollution Control system through a risk-based approach. It is important, however, that low-risk cases do not escape regulation as a result of such an approach.”

Comments on the consultation should be sent to khaleda.khatun@defra.gsi.gov.uk by Friday 2 August 2002, or mailed to Khaleda Khatun, DEFRA, 4/G10 Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.

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