Former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment says the UK Government must do more to address air pollution from construction sites

Matthew Pencharz commented after the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) finally published theconsultation on its new UK Air Quality Plan

London. 5 May 2017: Matthew Pencharz, the former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment and current director of Off Grid Energy,is urging the UK Government to do more to encourage local authorities to introduce and have the powers to enforce environmental regulations on construction sites to push the utilisation of clean technologies after the disappointingly unambitious Government Air Quality Plan was published by Defra today.

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

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

 “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,” said Pencharz, who brought in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) regulations for construction equipment while he was Deputy Mayor of London for Environment.

The GLA brought in regulations in 2015 to begin the cleaning up of constructions sites but the Government in this consultation is only talking about regulations from 2019 for new machines, with no thought to the thousands of older, high polluting ones.

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

 “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,” finished Pencharz.