MD1652 Finalisation of the London Local Air Quality Management system

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
27 April 2016
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

This request seeks authorisation to finalise the new system for the 32 London boroughs and the City of London to manage London’s local air quality.
Previously, boroughs were required to comply with a national statutory framework for Local Air Quality Management (LAQM), but this does not meet the specific challenges and opportunities within London.
The new London LAQM has been publically consulted on twice and is now ready for publication.
Concurrently to the development of the London system, Department for Environment, Food, Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have reviewed the national system and London is no longer part of the revised national LAQM, which was finalised in April 2016. The Secretary of State expects London boroughs to participate in the new London LAQM system and to have regard to the Mayor’s guidance.  As Defra’s new system is now in place and requests London boroughs follow the London system, it is imperative that the London system is finalised as soon as possible to provide complete coverage across England. 
The new London LAQM will be managed by the GLA and will help to ensure that local authority responsibilities are clear, reflect statutory requirements, and that local action to reduce pollution is more targeted, coordinated and effective. It will also demonstrate that the Mayor is executing his statutory duties to ensure that boroughs are delivering effective local action on air quality.


That the Mayor approves the implementation of the final London Local Air Quality Management (LLAQM) system set out in this form and guidance, and publication of the new LLAQM Policy guidance attached.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1     Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) is the statutory process by which a local authority is required to review the air quality within its area. The main purpose of this system is to ascertain whether air quality objectives prescribed within the Air Quality Regulations 2000 and the Air Quality (Amendment) Regulations 2010 are likely to be met in a certain area and to drive improvements in order to achieve those objectives. 
1.2     LAQM was previously managed nationally by Department for Environment, Food, Rural Affairs (DEFRA) but GLA has developed its own bespoke system to reflect the unique circumstances in London. The London system has been under review since early 2015 and has been out to two public consultations. The consultations on the London LAQM were approved via MD 1506.
 1.3    DEFRA has also reviewed the national LAQM framework and finalised this new system on the 6th April 2016.  This system applies in England but excludes London.  The Secretary of State has, however, formally advised London boroughs in statutory guidance that they should participate in the London LAQM system and have regard to Mayoral guidance issued under it (see paragraph 8.3, below). It is therefore important that the London element is brought into operation as soon as possible to provide complete coverage across England.   
1.4     The Mayor is given powers to intervene to secure boroughs’ compliance with their duties under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995. The London LAQM (LLAQM) system sets his expectations as to the actions boroughs should take and indicates where he would be minded to exercise his formal powers of direction if necessary.  The GLA will continue to provide support and funding to boroughs (e.g. through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund) and this will be integrated into the new LAQM system.  
1.5    The key components of the new system are:
•    Streamlined reporting processes, freeing up officer time to deliver action on air quality.
•    Provision of templates and tools to assist with action planning, monitoring, and other elements of Local Air Quality Management. This includes an “Action Matrix” which assesses and prioritises a range of actions that boroughs can take to improve air quality.
•    A Cleaner Air Borough accreditation for boroughs which fulfil the criteria (to be re-assessed annually).
•    An annual compendium of action that has been taken by boroughs across London, to help improve information sharing. 
•    Integration of Planning into LAQM – allowing oversight of where and how London Plan air quality requirements are being translated at the local level and highlighting the importance of this area of work.
•    An annual report to the London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee highlighting air quality action and achievements at the borough level.

2.    Summary of process 

2.1     This MD is the final stage of over a year of policy development and consultation. The LLAQM review process included extensive consultation and engagement with: 

•    Boroughs
•    London Councils
•    GLA colleagues in Planning and Transport
•    TfL colleagues in Public Health, TfL Planning, Transport and Legal, who have provided legal advice throughout the process
•    The Environment Agency
•    Defra

2.3    In spring 2015 we consulted on the proposals, the new template and tools, and the Impact Assessment.

2.4    There were 36 responses to this consultation and these informed the development of the LLAQM Policy and Technical Guidance.

2.5    In January 2016 an eight week consultation opened on the Policy and Technical Guidance. There were only a few minor comments on these documents.

Objectives and expected outcomes

3.1    The expected outcomes are:
•    Improved and enhanced LAQM process which reduces the overall regulatory burden and cost to London boroughs. 
•    Enhanced co-ordination of borough air quality work, with regional platforms to share information and identify best practice, and common problems.
•    Formal linking of LLAQM with funding streams such as the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, to ensure a joined up approach to Local Air Quality Management, and to be used as a “carrot” to encourage boroughs to fulfil their statutory duties. 

Equality comments

4.1    The most significant equalities implication from poor air quality is that areas of poor air quality are often also areas where there are higher levels of economic deprivation. 
4.2    This new LLAQM system should help to facilitate action to improve air quality in local hotspots, so it should therefore help towards reducing health inequalities. This links with the Mayors Health Inequality Strategy Commitment 22: Improve the air quality of London’s existing homes and neighbourhoods, especially those in the areas with the poorest levels of health.

Other considerations

5.1     The LLAQM is consistent with the following Mayoral Strategies, and his powers under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995

Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy
•    Policy 3: Identifying priority locations and improving air quality through a package of local measures
•    Policy 14: The Mayor will assist boroughs in carrying out the exercise of their statutory duty to improve air quality in London

Mayor’s Transport Strategy
•    Proposal 94: Introducing targeted local measures at poor air quality priority locations to reduce emissions and improve local air quality

Mayors Health Inequality Strategy 
•    Commitment 22: Improve the air quality of London’s existing homes and neighbourhoods, especially those in the areas with the poorest levels of health.

Environment Act 1995
•    Part IV sets out various statutory duties on the Mayor, including safeguarding the operation of LAQM in London. 

6.    Impact Assessment
6.1    An Impact Assessment was undertaken into the proposals and was made available to the public at the first consultation. 
6.2    The headline findings of the Impact Assessment are as follows:
•    Over 3 years the new proposals will save London boroughs up to £148,800 through streamlining of requirements.
•    The main benefits of the system were assessed to result from improved coordination and resources leading to more effective action to reduce air pollution by local authorities. 
•    No significant risks or costs were identified as being likely to result from implementation of the new system.

Financial comments

7.1    There are no direct financial implications to the GLA in the publication of the final London Local Air Quality Management (LLAQM) system, as attached in Appendix 1 (LLAQM Policy Guidance).


Investment and Performance Board

9.1    There are minimal additional costs from the new LLAQM. It therefore does not require IPB approval. 


Planned delivery approach and next steps

10.1    The LLAQM has already been extensively publicised and consulted on amongst stakeholders. No concerns were raised about the draft Policy and Technical Guidance. This is simply the final stage in signing off the new system. 

10.2    The LLAQM will not be subject to any press announcement. The documents for the new system will be placed on the GLA website, an email will go to borough officers, and a letter will go from Executive Director Fiona Fletcher-Smith to borough Chief Executives informing them about the finalisation of new LLAQM alongside some other borough air quality updates. 

10.3    It is crucial to ensure sign off as soon as possible because as of April 6th 2016 London is no longer part of the national LAQM system.

Activity table



MD signed

Week commencing 25th April

Inform Defra that the LLAQM has been finalised

Week commencing 25th April

MD published; Policy and Technical Guidance and Tools uploaded to the LLAQM page on; emails sent to borough officers

Week commencing  9th May

Letters sent to Chief Executives of the boroughs

Week commencing 9th May


Appendices and supporting papers

Appendices and supporting papers: Appendix 1: DRAFT LLAQM Policy Guidance 2016


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