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Once a decade the politics of our environment captures the headlines and 2016 saw the awakening in the public consciousness of the latest environmental calamity: air pollution, which was ‘fuelled’ in part by the diesel emissions scandal of the previous year.

Our cities are huge polluters and (according to the United Nations) take responsibility for 70% of the world’s carbon emissions; the main contributing factor to air pollution is undoubtedly transport.

In recognising the issue, Central and Local Governments are implementing low emission zones, which are a high political priority:

  • The London Mayor has promised an expanded “ultra-low emission zone” in Central London by 2019;
  • Oxford City & County Councils are investigating a “zero emission zone” for the City from 2020;
  • Birmingham City Council are developing plans for a ‘clean air zone’ to be introduced in 2019; and
  • Great Manchester Combined Authority has a ‘low-emissions strategy and air quality action plan’.

Whilst traditionally the role of Environmental Assessors, the emerging role of Transport Planners will need to adapt to consider vehicle emissions as part of their overall Transport Assessment (in collaboration with other environmental consultants). Mitigating emissions and actively encouraging greener fuel technology will become paramount.

To address this emerging policy, transport planners will need to promote a healthier approach to transport strategies in our cities by:

  • Dealing with increased number of Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA);
  • Calculating vehicular emissions from development proposals;
  • Identifying emissions mitigation strategies;
  • Actively promoting cleaner vehicle technology in new development (such as Electric Vehcile (EV) charging points);
  • Exploring more cleaner forms of personal transport;
  • Promote more walking and cycling to work; and
  • Making better use of our public transport networks

At mode transport planning, we are already highly experienced in assisting and advising our clients in relation to the impacts of existing and emerging transportation related policies; as Air Quality considerations become a paramount concern, mode is leading the way in incorporating air quality emissions assessment into our Transport Assessments and subsequently implementing emissions mitigation strategies through the delivery of well-considered Travel Plans.

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