Public Health England publishes review on air quality improvement

  • By Heloise Thibault

In this review published in March 2019, Public Health England identifies vehicles and fuels, spatial planning and behaviour change as three of the five main areas for potential action. The review provides local authorities with guidance on various approaches to tackle poor air quality. It suggests a hierarchy of interventions with prevention on top, followed by mitigation and then avoidance (fig. 19).  London and Leeds strategies are shown as examples.

Amongst the measures suggested for transport policy teams are anti-idling interventions, targeting emissions from vehicles, low emission zones or abatement retrofit. The review also recommends synergic approaches between department, underlining the need for planning and transport teams to work jointly, as planning interventions can have an important impact on reducing the exposure to toxic air (physical barriers between road and sidewalks for example). In terms of behaviour change, campaigns are encouraged, be it in a work or private environment.

The review also proves useful as it details how national government can support authorities in bettering air quality.

Heloise Thibault