Sixty-two percent of local authorities still failing under air pollution control regulations

New government figures have revealed that 62% of local authorities are still failing to implement properly the UK’s core industrial air pollution regulations, over 10 years after they came into force, despite efforts by Environment Minister Michael Meacher.

Last year, Meacher wrote to 300 local authorities urging them to implement the Local Authority Pollution Control (LAPC) regime (see related story).

Now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has named and shamed the worst performing 48 local authorities – those failing to inspect the processes under their jurisdictions even once a year. However, it appears that Meacher’s words may have had an effect as this is an improvement on last year’s total of 89 authorities failing to inspect even once a year.

The Environment Industries Commission (EIC) has expressed disappointment in the latest figures, but is happy that Meacher and DEFRA are making an effort to ensure that local authorities comply, a spokesman told edie.

The expected level of inspections for each facility set by the Government is twice a year. The average at the moment the average is 1.7 inspections, but this is up on last year’s average of 1.5.

“Poorly performing local authorities are in effect undermining companies that respect the local environment as their polluting competitors can gain commercially by not installing the necessary environmental protection,” said EIC Director Merlin Hyman.

DEFRA is pleased that the situation has improved, but will be writing to local authorities who are failing to comply adequately, asking them why, and what they intend to do to remedy the situation, a DEFRA spokesman told edie.

Despite the disappointing findings, DEFRA’s report also shows that some local authorities are carrying out far more inspections that is required by law. The most active local authority is Swansea Bay PHA, which carries out 16 visits per process, followed by Hull and Goole, with nearly 12 visits per process. Exeter visits each process over eight times, and High Peak and West Dorset local authorities over five times.

The hall of LAPC shame, however, is inhabited by, amongst others, Sheffield, Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire, Leeds, and the East Riding local authority in Yorkshire.



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