UCL Faculty of Laws


Professor Eloise Scotford speaks at All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution event

5 April 2019

The panel event was chaired by Geraint Davies MP, hosting a discussion about how the draft Environmental Bill might be improved to promote cleaner air.

Eloise Scotford

On 26th March, Professor Eloise Scotford, Professor of Environmental Law at UCL Laws, spoke at the APPG on Air Pollution event, “An Environment Act for Cleaner Air”. 

The panel - including also Katie Nield (ClientEartth), Edward Lockhart (Broadway), and Roz Bulleid (MakeUK) - discussed the various challenges facing air quality law in England presently, and made various suggestions for legislative reform in the current Environment Bill and in the forthcoming ‘Part 2’ of the Bill.

In her remarks, Professor Scotford drew on her British Academy funded empirical research of the experience of local authorities working within the current legislative framework for air quality governance, highlighting its weaknesses for promoting good air quality outcomes in three key respects. 

First, current air quality targets can lead to “perverse” policy incentives, with government focusing on meeting numerical targets over necessarily delivering best outcomes for protecting public health.

Second, discrepancies between local and national monitoring results can cause tension over which areas should be the focus for targeted efforts to improve air quality.

Third, Professor Scotford argued that there are “serious disconnects” between policy makers with control over air quality sources and measures and the bodies that are currently responsible for meeting air quality targets. In her closing remarks, Professor Scotford called for all public bodies with some control over air pollution sources to have legal responsibility for taking coordinated action to meet air quality targets.

A summary of the event can be found here. The event was also reported in ENDS, which you can read now (£).

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