Clean Air Policy in the UK

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Every society in the world has its own rules and policies that help in the provision of the direction and guideline to ensure that all the activities are conducted in a way agreed upon by many. The operation of different business organizations is significantly affected by the policies that exist within the country or the region of operation. The companies need to ensure that they comply with the set policies and regulations for effectiveness (Williams and Longhurst 2016, p. 34). There exist different national or regional policies with each of them affecting the business in many different ways.

This paper focuses on the clean air policy within the UK. The paper explores the variations needs for the policy, its rationale and the underlying philosophies. Further, the paper makes a critical evaluation of whether the policy is achieving its aims and makes proposals to the various aspects that need to be corrected in the policy. Therefore, the paper is essential in providing an understanding on the clean air policy and its impact to businesses.

The Needs Addressed by the Clean Air Policy

The main aim of the Clean Air Act in the UK is to reduce pollution through a control and the management of the possible air pollutants. It focuses on the air pollution that comes from the smoke, the dust and also the grit. In its first part, the policy has empowered the local authority through the design of the smoke control areas. Both the individuals and the organizations must not release the smoke in a chimney without the complying with the set guidelines of the policy. Those who must release smoke can only do that through the utilization of the approved fireplace or the fuel ( 2018). Therefore, the policy has addressed the air pollution issues to a large extent through its control.

Regarding the dark smoke, the policy makes it illegal for the burning or the emission of the dark smoke in the chimneys at any part of the UK. Owners found releasing the dark smoke in the chimneys are found guilty of crossing the act. The policy also makes it clear that the companies (industrial) or the trading premises that release the dark smoke is also guilty of the charges. Therefore, the contents of the act emphasize the need for the elimination of the dark smoke from both the individual people and the groups of the companies (Carbone and Smith 2008, p. 1254).

The second part of the act focuses on addressing the issues associated with the general smoke, the fumes and the grit. The policy advocates for the furnace installations for the licensed organizations that deal with activities which can emit smoke in their activities. They have to embrace arrestment plants in their activities especially for the furnaces that are not domestic. The act contains practices to measure the grit, the dust and fumes emitted to the environment both domestically and non-domestically. All smoke producers are expected to comply with this policy. Again, the act has a definition of the chimney heights which must be approved by the body for effectiveness. The approach has helped to establish the standards to ensure that people chimney characteristics that have an impact on the environment. 

In the fourth part of the act, the policy focuses on controlling other forms of pollution in the air other than the conventional smoke from the individuals and the manufacturing companies. In this part, the main emphasis is made on the motor fuel especially carbon and sulphur contents into the air. Individuals and groups are forced to adopt the fuel-efficient vehicles within the expectations of the policy. The engines must meet the standards defined in the policy to reduce the air pollution as much as possible. It also considers the factors associated with cable burning as a way to reduce the emissions to the environment (Sabatier and Weible 2007, p. 189).

The fifth part of the policy focuses on informational aspects of the policy. It entails the aspects of conducting research and the publicity activities. It defines the ways through which the act shall obtain information and use it for effectiveness. It covers how the notices are made about the policy both the individuals of the public and the companies within the UK. The main target is to enhance information sharing between the act and the individuals and the companies. Therefore, the policy focuses to attain a continuous approach through which the information shall flow all the time in both directions.

The sixth part of the act defines the special cases of its application. It specifies key aspects such as how it is related to the Environment Protection act (Abbreviated as EPA) and other acts of preventing pollution in the environment. Other aspects that are exempted in the policy include the railway engines, the crown premises and coal face spoil banks among many others (Brock and Taylor 2010, p. 127). Besides, the part also makes it that the exception shall apply to the cases where the research and the investigations within the field. The last part of the act focuses on the miscellaneous aspects such as leadership within the policy. It defines the administrative structure of the policy that helps in its implementation. It empowers various groups to help in the administration of the act.

The Rationale and the Underlying Philosophy of the Clean Air Policy

The Clean Air Policy has is philosophies and the rationale revolving around the control of the air pollution. There are four main philosophies that contain its underlying rationale for its implementation. These are the emission standards, the cost-benefit standards, the air quality standards and the emission taxes (Williams and Longhurst 2016, p. 34). Firstly, regarding the air emission standards, the policy was developed with the intentions of ensuring that the emissions are limited and controlled with an acceptable level standard in the world. The act helps both the individuals and the groups of people to mind what they emit into the environment, thus enhancing emission standards. The rationale is what lies behind the control of the emission of the dark smoke into the environment, by making it mandatory for the smoke producers to ensure that they act on it before releasing it to the environment. Again, the standards in the act have been extended to the motor engines for effectiveness.

Secondly, the underlying rationale is the philosophy of the air quality standards within the environment. The philosophy is to keep the air as clean as possible through embracing the best practices with the UK and the rest of the world.  The rationale is a major pushing force underlying the various activities incorporated in the all the parts of the Clean Air Act. The control of the pollution to ensure that only acceptable emissions are allowed to the environment helps to attain air quality standards. The Clean Air Act helps to ensure that both the individuals and the various groups of people act carefully while considering that the quality of the air within the environment (Amann et al 2011, p. 1489).

            The third rationale underlying the Clean Air Act is the implementation of the tax philosophy. The policy helps to ensure that both the individuals and the organizations comply with the taxes associated with the emissions. The strategy has been achieved by ensuring that those who have to emit to the environment must comply with the standards by obtaining a licence in their acts (Wilson et al 2008, p. 657). It is also important to note that the tax compliance has the impacts on the emission reduction and the clean air standards because it limits people who are likely to emit to the environment. Most organizations will seek to embrace alternative innovative ways to supplement the emission production to the environment. Therefore, the emission tax compliance rationale plays a critical role towards achieving the control of the air pollution.

            Another philosophy that forms the rationale towards the formation of the Clean Air Act is the cost-benefit actions. The fact that pollution has more damages that are expensive makes it necessary to ensure that the vice is controlled. A comparison of the cost involved in controlling the air pollution and the benefit that comes about, with a consideration of the losses that will be incurred when not controlled is one of the major underlying rationales towards embracing the policies. Therefore, a view from the cost-benefit angle proofs the need for the Clean Air Act formation and implementation.

Critical Evaluation of the Clean Air Policy in Achieving its Aims

There are many different aspects that the Air Quality Act has achieved, while other same time, the policy has failed at other cases. Regarding its success, the act has significantly helped the businesses and individuals to set standards in the emissions. Currently, those who must produce any materials that could lead to air pollution must ensure that they comply with the set expectations in the policy. Despite the increasing industrialization level which has led to sprouting of many air pollutant emitting materials in the UK, the Air Quality Act has achieved to curb their emission level, ensuring that it remains within the acceptable levels. The policy has attained an elimination of the dark smoke within the environment, through its demand for the compliance of the smoke emitters (Longhurst et al 2016, p. 491).

With a major achievement of the black smoke, the reduction has been attained through a regulation to control the domestic and the industrial emissions within the region. The concentration has also been on the coal as the fuel for use. Again, the Air Quality Act has managed to empower the various parties to make the administration activities that reduce the emissions. These air pollution control activities have aided in increasing the supply of clean air; an aspect that has contributed to the well-being of the health of the public. Therefore, the Air Quality Act has achieved improving the air quality which has, in turn, helped to improve the public health.

Through the actions, it is now clear that the policy has helped to reduce the pollution level coming from different sources of emission. There has been a decrease in the number of deaths in the UK that was initially caused by the respiratory issues.  The reduction has been significantly been attributed to the reduced pollution emission. The achievement has indirectly helped to cut down the cost that is spent on medication of the respiratory illness. Therefore, the implementation of the UK Air Quality Act has significantly aided in improving the general health of people within the region (Zeger et al 2008, p. 1614).

Despite the success areas of the Air Quality Act, the policy has also failed in other cases. It has failed to control the emissions released to the environment from the auto motives such as the automobiles, the lawnmowers, the locomotives, the aircraft and the dirt bikes among many others. The population's automobiles grow first, and most of them are owned by the individual people; an aspect that makes it difficult to manage their emissions (Alonso et al 2012, p. 3406). The Air Quality Act has failed to make the regulations which ensure that they all comply with the expected standards. According to the policy, the vehicle engines need to conform to its policy to ensure that they are energy efficient in their design, as a way of reducing the emissions released to the environment. However, at the moment fuel-inefficient vehicles are still being produced.

Lastly, the Air Quality Act has failed to attain 100% compliance with its requirements. There exist many cases that survive production of the dark smoke and release of other air polluting materials to the environment. The administration of the act as a way to control all the individuals and the companies to reduce the emissions has not performed as expected. The loopholes have made the many domestic smoke producers continue harming the environment (Schmalensee and Stavins 2013, p. 103).

Proposal of the Corrections and Alternative Approaches to the Clean Air Policy

There are various aspects that the Clean Air Policy needs to correct for effectiveness. The shortcomings that exist in the policy in line with the inadequacy in the implementation of the activities within the automobile should be corrected. Firstly, the policy needs to be stricter and adopt more changes that will ensure that there is effectiveness in the industry. The private vehicles that are not clean should be restricted in their operation such as limiting them to clear air zones. Other delivery services should be performed at night only. The approaches are likely to help in reducing the contamination caused by the vehicles in the air.

Secondly, automobiles being the most challenging air contamination source, it is important to consider factors of partnering with the manufacturers. The approach is likely to help in coming up with the fuel-efficient automobiles that have little negative impacts on the air quality with the UK region. The strategy will help the policy to have access and control of the source, which is one of the most essential strategies that are effective in policy implementation. Besides, it is also critical that the administrations and leaders in the policy are empowered more to handle the pollution causing aspects. The empowerment includes the financial aspects and the provision of the sufficient qualified members to help curb the continuity of the vices (Goulder and Schein 2013, p. 135). The strategy will help in effective leadership and management of all the aspects of the act.

Thirdly, there is the need for the act to embrace and work closely with the government of the UK towards eliminating the diesel vehicles by 2025. The collaborative efforts are likely to help change people’s taste from the traditional diesel vehicles to the desirable non-diesel automobiles. Some of the strategies that can be achieved in the collaboration with the national leadership include an adoption of the vehicle tax policy that is likely to discourage the purchase of the diesel vehicles with the region. Instead, the model should encourage the use of the fuel-efficient automobiles (Haines et al 2009, 2104). The strategy will move most of the people towards going for the automobiles because high taxes on the diesel vehicles will increase their prices, thus, discouraging many from purchasing them.

Fourthly, there is the need for the Air Quality policy to consider integrating an innovation strategy within its operations. Currently, both the domestic and the organizational problems are managed through the utilization of creativity and innovation. The problems and challenges that face the implementation process of the Air Quality Act need creative solutions to offer the alternatives to the users for effectiveness (Nykvist and Whitmarsh 2008, p. 1373). Through innovation, the creative answers to most of the air pollution problems will be provided thus, making the process a success. Innovation can be incorporated by embracing the practices that attract many people to give out and implement the creative ideas that are likely to help in managing the current environmental challenges. Usually, the public can be moved to adopt creative changes through the advocating of a culture that encourages both the individual people and the groups to switch from the traditional ways and adopt the new creative best practices.


In conclusion, the human society has embraced different policies and regulations that help to guide the specific activities that people should do. The operation of the business organizations demands the compliance with the prevailing regional or national policies and acts. The UK has adopted one of the Environmental Protection Policies called Clean Air Act which has significantly helped it to control the air pollution. The policy has made a focus on eliminating the dark smoke, grit and the dust through all the possible actions. It has also extended the control towards the control of automobiles and other engines. The rationale for the adoption of the policy lies about the cost-benefit factors, the setting of the emission standards, the standardization of the emission taxes and the air-quality standards.

A critical analysis of the success of the Clean Air Act clearly reveals that the policy has managed to achieve its goals to some extent and yet, at the same time the policy has failed in other cases. The elimination of the smoke in the chimney and desirable aspects of the furnaces clearly shows that the act has aided in improving the air quality and the setting of the standards. On the other hand, the policy has failed in its implementations to control the emissions from the automobiles. Therefore, the policy needs to be corrected and ensure that it handles the emissions from the automobiles in the most effective way possible.



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January 19, 2024

Environment Health


Environment Problems

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Pollution Air Pollution

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