Edition 8: Capacity to Improve Air Quality

Poor air quality ‘top concern’ for councils, but most feel unable to tackle it

NLGN’s Leadership Index is a quarterly survey sent to all chief executives, council leaders/mayors in the UK. It provides insight into the level of confidence on key issues affecting local government.

The January 2020 survey also asked local government leaders about their capacity to improve air quality in their area and reduce rough sleeping.

Read it here

Download the press release: Poor air quality ‘top concern’ for councils, but most feel ill-equipped to tackle it

Key findings include:

  • A majority of respondents consider taking action on air quality a top priority for their councils, with 65.9 per cent saying that taking action on air quality is extremely or very important. However, more than half (51.2 per cent) of respondents disagree or strongly disagree that they have adequate powers and resources to improve air quality in their area.
  • All respondents from Metropolitan councils and London Boroughs indicated that taking action on air quality is extremely or very important for their councils, compared to only 59 per cent respondents from Unitary and District councils.
  • Respondents referred to ‘monitoring key areas of risk’, ‘designating Air Quality Management Areas’, and ‘developing EV infrastructure’ as key measures already taken to improve air quality. However, respondents identified as lack of resources (25.1 per cent); competing priorities (23.6 per cent); and limited decision-making powers (20 per cent) as the most significant barriers to improving air quality.
  • On the capacity to reduce rough sleeping, respondents from London, East and South West are the most pessimistic, with 55 per cent, 53 per cent and 44 per cent respectively indicating they do not have adequate resources to support the provision of temporary accommodation for winter rough sleepers.
  • Optimism in the local business environment has increased by 12.7 per cent since the last quarter to 62.5 (on a scale of 0 to 100) but there has been no change in confidence level that residents have sufficient income to achieve a decent standard of living, which remains at 49.2.

NLGN Leadership Index survey comprises 12 recurring questions across three key themes – economy, society and environment – and a series of topical questions which focus on current events affecting local government.

A full report of the results from the January 2020 survey can be downloaded HERE.

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