local government

3rd Annual Tackling Air Pollution Forum

local government

08:45 - 16:00

Tuesday 17 September 2019

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only


This Forum provides attendees with the opportunity to explore the latest policy updates from leading stakeholders on national and local plans to improve and comply with air quality standards across the UK. Attendees will hear from The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ Air Quality Group, the British Lung Foundation, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and London Councils on measures being implemented to successfully reduce air pollution. In addition to this, best practice case studies will share guidance on the most innovative and effective ways to reduce and control air pollution including embracing new technology to reduce air pollution, developing town planning strategies and promoting the use of greener transport.


This Forum is designed for Local Authorities including:

  • Directors of Public Health
  • Directors of Environment and Research
  • Climate Change Managers
  • Councillors
  • Senior Transport Planners
  • Sustainable Business Leads
  • Town Planners
  • Environmental Monitoring Officers
  • Air Quality Managers
  • Heads of Innovation
  • Heads of Public Affairs
  • Research and Sustainability Leads

The Forum is also open to the Health, Voluntary and Private Sector organisations to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Professor Paul Monks, Chairman, DEFRA Air Quality Group
  • Tony Higgins, Member – Environmental Protection Advisory Panel, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)
  • Katharina Winbeck, Head of Transport, Environment and Infrastructure, London Councils
  • Alison Cook, Director of External Affairs, British Lung Foundation
View the agenda and additional speakers

Research by the World Health Organisation estimates that 4.2 million deaths annually are as a result of exposure to air pollution. Furthermore, a study conducted by the journal Environmental Research revealed that fine particles and other exhaust pollutants are known to cause inflammation in the brain, resulting in children from polluted areas being 7% more likely to experience anxiety. 

In January 2019, the government published the ‘Clean Air Strategy 2019’, as part of its commitment to cut air pollution in half by 2030 and achieve zero emission for all road vehicles by 2050. The strategy outlines further support for local authorities to improve air quality standards through a £255 million ‘Implementation Fund’ to drive action in improving air quality, and a £220 million ‘Clean Air Fund’ to aid them in minimising the impact of their local plans on individuals and businesses. Furthermore, over £3 million of government funding has been provided to 28 innovative projects to improve air quality across English local authorities. Examples include London Borough of Hackney who have received £178,950 towards a project which expands the Zero Emissions Network across the Borough and West Sussex County Council who are working in partnership with 13 authorities in Sussex and have received £32,716 towards delivering a collaborative ‘Breathing Better‘ strategy. In addition, in November 2018 Public Health England published their guidance ‘Health Matters: Air Pollution’. Crucially, it sets out that long-term contact with man-made air pollution in the UK has the annual effect equivalent to circa 36,000 deaths.  Escalating this issue further, from June 2019, the Government has set new targets to tackle climate change including cutting Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by 2050, which led to the amendment of the Climate Change Act 2008.

With an increasing focus on air pollution and its link to damaging public health and a new target to cut Greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, it is therefore vital that local authorities come together and work alongside the transport, voluntary and private sector to develop a robust and environmentally sustainable local strategy to improve air quality across the UK. Failure to do so could see inescapable exposure inflicted upon people living in highly polluted areas and cause further damage to the environment.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Dr Audrey De Nazelle, Senior Lecturer- Faculty of Natural Sciences, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Examining the Government’s Progress in Tackling Air Pollution

  • Highlighting the role of the Air Quality Expert Group in supporting DEFRA through science advice to improve air quality, such as through the “The Potential AQ Impacts of Biomass Burning” report and evidencing the need to discourage homes from burning wood
  • Outlining the key features of the governments ‘Clean Air Strategy 2019’and the challenges contained for local authorities in the near term
  • Exploring challenges when working to achieve reductions in air pollution locally exploring past successes and practical implications for the future

Professor Paul Monks, Chairman, DEFRA Air Quality Group (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Measures to Tackle Air Pollution at the Local Authority Level

  • Outlining the national context on tackling air pollution by examining the legislation, national air quality strategy and funding
  • Analysing the regional context on tackling toxic air by exploring the Low and Ultra Low Emission Zones designed to reduce traffic-induced pollution
  • Exploring other public sector schemes such as Low Emission Neighbourhoods, Neighbourhoods of the Future and Liveable Neighbourhoods in London which have varying degrees of funding to develop infrastructure to support walking, cycling and EVs among other measures
  • Providing updates on community initiatives, such as the ‘Science in the City’ initiative, a community based, citizen science air quality monitoring project which resulted in 82% of respondents suggesting they would make changes to reduce their personal exposure to air pollution as a result
  • Sharing the outcomes from the 2019 London Councils Air Quality Polling such as Londoner’s attitudes and awareness of air pollution

Katharina Winbeck, Head of Transport, Environment and Infrastructure, London Councils (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Collaborating to Deliver a Robust Clean Air Strategy: A Local Authority Perspective

  • Outlining how 13 local councils across West Sussex established a joint approach to tackle air pollution across the region, pooling capital and sharing resources to increase efficiency and improve outcomes
  • Analysing the challenges of partnership working such as differing priorities across separate councils and resolving this through the air quality group regularly meeting and refining priorities of the joint plan
  • Exploring the success of the ‘Breathing Better: a partnership approach to improving air quality in West Sussex’ such as reducing carbon emissions by 25% to 23,849 tonnes across 5 years and advising others to take inspiration from sustainability strategies of large businesses
  • Highlighting how councils can achieve a reduction in carbon emissions annually for example, by encouraging vegetation locally to absorb carbon dioxide and working with local partners

Louise Goldsmith, Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, West Sussex County Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Outlining How a Local Authorities Can Tackle Air Pollution through Incremental Change

  • Reviewing progress in implementing recommendations from the 2018 Government funded scheme to tackle air pollution such as updating 400 buses with technology to reduce emissions
  • Learning from the ‘Leicester’s Air Quality Action Plan’ including the low emission strategy ‘LestAir’ which set future targets for low emission behaviours such as a 3% reduction annually
  • Advising other councils on how to reduce air pollution through working with local organisations to plant the most pollutant absorbing trees and plants and using ‘Green Walls’
  • Demonstrating how to ensure a successful Air Quality Action Plan through an Air Quality Action Plan Board who oversee the development and delivery of the plan

Councillor Adam Clarke, Assistant City Mayor (Energy & Sustainability), Heritage Champion, Leicester City Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Demonstrating How a Fleet Strategy has Supported the 'Air Quality Action Plan'

  • Sharing guidance on how councils can encourage local agencies to use biofuel such as Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Biodiesel in their vehicles, which has seen Hackney cut CO2 production by 25% in a year
  • Highlighting how to develop an electric fleet and fleet only charging infrastructure with the aim to be entirely electric-based in the future
  • Demonstrating how the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) can be used as a transition fuel until full electric is used in vehicles
  • Outlining the key challenges in developing a successful fleet strategy such as the challenge of developing charging infrastructure

Winner of the Vehicle Fleet Air Quality Initiative of the Year Award at the National Air Quality Awards 2018

Norman Harding, Corporate Fleet Manager, London Borough of Hackney (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Assessing the Health Consequences of Air Pollution and Outlining a Future Trajectory for Change

  • Presenting updates on the effects air pollution have on human lungs such as 40,000 early deaths as a result, explaining how pollution affects children’s lungs and who is most at risk from toxic air
  • Analysing the 2018 ‘Toxic air at the doors of the NHS’ report which outlines key findings on the effect of air pollution on patients and hospitals across the UK including 2,000 health centres being in highly polluted areas
  • Highlighting key recommendations from the report including adopting the World Health Organisation’s limit for PM2.5 into UK Law through the Environment Bill and investing in air quality monitoring for areas where vulnerable individuals gather
  • Providing a summary of thoughts on the government’s ‘The Clean Air Strategy’ including the need for a commitment to ensure no one is exposed to toxic air
  • Assessing the three key areas of improvement the BLF are campaigning for including Clean Air Zones in more areas across the UK, new laws on safe limits of pollution and better monitoring outside schools and hospitals

Alison Cook, Director of External Affairs, British Lung Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Demonstrating How to Tackle Air Pollution Beyond the Clean Air Strategy

  • Exploring the role of CIEH in setting and raising environmental standards by working with communities and policymakers, for instance by lobbying for ring-fenced funding for local authorities to tackle air quality
  • Analysing the ‘Clean Air Strategy’ and focusing closely on intervention strategies
  • Assessing some of the key drivers of tackling air pollution including renewable heat and tackling carbon
  • Outlining the legislative options for control including a focus on a new ‘Clean Air Act’

Tony Higgins, Member – Environmental Protection Advisory Panel, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Reducing Air Pollution Through New Technology and Partnership Working: Updates from the Automotive Industry

  • Exploring the evolution of air quality improvements from road transport through analysing over 40 years of motoring
  • Analysing partnerships with local authorities, governments and other businesses to encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles
  • Outlining how the future of mobility will look with consideration for reducing air pollution
  • Highlighting the industry challenge to meet governments ambitions in the ‘Road to Zero’ Strategy and in the Committee on Climate Change ‘Net Zero’ report

Sukky Choongh-Campbell, Environmental Manager – Air Quality and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, The Society Of Motor Manufacturers And Traders (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Reducing Air Pollution Through Best Practice Project Delivery

  • Exploring the ‘Enjoy Waltham Forest’ project which aims to reduce air pollution through the creation of 22km of segregated cycle lanes, 100+ improved pedestrian crossing, 15 pocket parks and planting of 660 trees
  • Highlighting key challenges of the project which was met with resistance by local groups and overcoming this by commissioning research which demonstrated that life expectancy increased if the project was implemented
  • Drawing on the benefits of the project including the ability to use collected data to concentrate efforts in a specific area in future, such as findings that 14% of emissions between 8-9am being accounted for by the school run allowing for concentration on collaborating with schools in future
  • Outlining key steps in taking the project forward such as working in partnership with TfL and LEDNet to secure the resources and support to encourage the creation of more projects

Michele Moloney, Strategic Director- Neighbourhoods and Commercial Services, Waltham Forest Council (CONFIRMED)

David Beach, Director of Regulatory Services, Waltham Forest Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Embedding Air Quality as Part of the Local Planning Process

  • Exploring the 2018 ‘Settlement Patterns, Urban Form & Sustainability’ report highlighting that public-transport oriented compact settlements and congestion charges can reduce air pollution by between 20%-50% by 2050
  • Sharing guidance on limitations to new clean air developments such as declining affordability and increasing population growth
  • Outlining how local authorities can use planning powers to secure financial contributions and improve air quality by allocating sites in local plans to those which support modal shift to public/active travel
  • Disseminating best practice guidance on how to develop a low carbon town as evident in the Wirksworth Neighbourhood Plan, which promoted retrofitting of existing traditional buildings to reduce building emissions

Sarah Lewis MRTPI, Planning Practice Officer, Royal Town Planning Institute (invited)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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