Call For Government to Reduce Construction Site Pollution

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Call For Government to Reduce Construction Site Pollution

The government is being urged to give local authorities more powers to reduce air pollution on construction sites in their area.

The Former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment, Matthew Pencharz, urged the government to act after the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) published the consultation on its new UK Air Quality Plan.

Pencharz, the current director of Off Grid Energy, was responsible for introducing tighter regulations for construction equipment in the Greater London Authority (GLA), and believes the Air Quality Plan is disappointingly unambitious.

In London, construction equipment accounts for some 7% of emissions, leading to unacceptably high NO2 concentrations, and across the country the equipment is an important source of pollution in towns and cities with poor air quality.

Cleaner technologies through the use of batteries, especially when it comes to temporary power for construction and events, would markedly reduce air pollution emissions. Companies such as Off Grid Energy are saving their customers thousands of pounds in fuel costs while also reducing pollution emissions and noise from construction sites.

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.”

Cleaning up London construction sites

Although the GLA brought in regulations in 2015 to begin the cleaning up of London construction sites, the Air Quality Plan only talks about regulations from 2019 for new machines, with no thought to the thousands of older, high polluting ones.

In addition, said Pencharz, other local authorities do not appear to be being encouraged to bring in London-style regulations and, even if they did, their enforcement powers remain weak. Pencharz believes the government should give strong enforcement powers to local authorities wishing to regulate construction equipment operating in their areas, and work closely with organisations such as the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) to solve this growing problem.

He added: “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, such as Off Grid Energy’s, which is delivering environmental and financial benefits in the construction and events industries. We feel the Government has missed a trick.”

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