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Decision details

Charter For Cleaner Air

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To Sign up to Oxford's Cleaner Air Charter.


Matter for Decision

A new charter for cleaner air has been launched by Oxford City Council, Greenpeace UK, and Friends of the Earth, calling on the United Kingdom (UK) Government to place the health of communities first.


The Charter for Cleaner Air, was created by Oxford City Council with the support of the UK100 Clean Air, Clean Cities Network, of which the Cambridge City Council is a member. It is the first formal cooperation with Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth (EWNI) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be led by a local authority.


The purpose of the Charter is to maintain pressure on central government to take steps to reduce illegal levels of air pollution and to recognise the crucial role local authorities play in this area by providing them with adequate funding, powers and new legislation to be able to fulfil their role and deliver local air quality action plans and other actions.


The City Council was recommended to sign up to the Charter to make clear to government that air quality remains an area of concern that needs central policy and funding support to deliver effectively at a local level. The Charter provided a reasoned set of steps Government could take to support local authorities working to deliver cleaner air.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Environmental Services

and City Centre

To sign up to the Oxford Charter for Cleaner Air on behalf of Cambridge City Council.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Environmental Quality & Growth Manager.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Welcomed the report.

  ii.  Central Government should be lobbied to take action and have more ambitious clean air targets.

  iii.  The Council should look for where pollution could come from in future to monitor air quality changes.


The Environmental Quality & Growth Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The National Clean Air Strategy was launched 14 January 2019. It picked up some points from the Charter for Clean Air, but did not commit to meet them, only work towards them.

  ii.  Cities coming together put pressure on Central Government to do more in future.

  iii.  The Council was monitoring where pollution could come from in future. For example taxi emissions and the area around Cambridge Railway station. This would provide an evidence base to Central Government to tackle air quality in future.

  iv.  Principles were fixed in the Charter for Clean Air. If another city (eg Oxford) changed their principles, Cambridge would not need to change too.


The Executive Councillor said:

  i.  The National Clean Air Strategy was not as hard hitting as she would like.

  ii.  The Charter for Clean Air was needed to lobby Central Government to take more action.

  iii.  The Charter had been adopted by Labour controlled councils so far. Hopefully others would follow in future.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.


Publication date: 06/03/2019

Date of decision: 17/01/2019