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Call for government to tackle air pollution from construction sites

The former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment has urged the government to step up its efforts in encouraging local authorities to do more to address poor air quality from construction sites.

Now a Director at Off Grid Energy, Matthew Pencharz, made the call following the publication of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) consultation on its new UK Air Quality Plan.

According to the former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment, the report fell short of expectations as it failed to take into account older higher polluting machines and instead focused on regulations from 2019 for new machines.

Mr Pencharz suggested that this missed opportunity should see the government instead empower local authorities to enforce environmental regulations on construction sites to push the use of clean technologies.

Uptake of cleaner technologies such as those that use batteries, particularly for temporary power for construction and events would help reduce air pollution emissions.

Mr Pencharz was responsible for the introduction of Greater London Authority’s (GLA) regulations for construction equipment while he was Deputy Mayor of London for Environment.

In London it is estimated that construction equipment makes up some 7% of emissions, leading to a high build up of NO2 concentrations resulting poor air quality across the country.

Mr Pencharz said: “It is disappointing that in its new consultation to deliver the reductions in air pollution the UK needs, the Government is not doing more to push the utilisation of clean technologies on construction sites to save both money and emissions and stimulate this high value manufacturing sector.”

“The challenge to deliver clean air creates a huge opportunity for the UK’s high value manufacturing sector but it does need reasonable and pragmatic regulation to stimulate the deployment of technologies. We feel the Government has missed a trick.”

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