Government must do more to address construction air pollution

Matthew Pencharz, the former deputy Mayor of London for Environment, and current director of Off Grid Energy, is urging the government to do more to encourage local authorities to introduce – and have the powers to enforce – environmental regulations on construction sites.

He also want clean technology to be used more widely after “the disappointingly unambitious Government Air Quality Plan” that was published by Defra recently.

In London, construction equipment accounts for some 7% of emissions leading to high NO2 concentrations, and across the country they are contribute pollution to towns and cities with poor air quality.

Clean technologies through the use of batteries, especially when it comes to temporary power for construction and events, are in the marketplace, which would markedly reduce air pollution emissions, according to Off Grid Energy.

“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,” Matthew said, who brought in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) regulations for construction equipment while he was deputy Mayor of London for Environment.

The GLA brought in regulations in 2015 to begin the cleaning up of constructions sites but the government in this consultation is only talking about regulations from 2019, disregarding thousands of older, high polluting ones.

Other local authorities do not appear to be being encouraged to bring in London-style regulations and, even if they did, any enforcement powers remain weak.