Helping Local Authorities develop Low Emission Strategies

Despite the introduction of low emissions transport and monitoring systems, air quality is still poor in many of England’s cities as they become more populated. Local Authorities find dealing with the issue complex, with development of a robust strategy often being outside their resource capabilities. Ricardo Energy & Environment was appointed by the respective local authorities to help a number of cities in the United Kingdom (UK) develop urban Low Emission Strategies.


The aim of the project was to help reduce pollutant emissions in multiple cities in the UK by producing strategies specifically tailored to individual city requirements. This involved developing a business case for the introduction of the strategy, whereby the cost of new measures are set against the social costs associated with poor air quality.


Ricardo Energy & Environment delivered feasibility studies for low emission options in a number of cities including London, Oxford, Birmingham, Bradford, Leeds, Southampton, Farnham, Warwick, Leicester, and Maidstone. These took into account political acceptability, technical achievability and cost. The work involved reviewing existing air quality conditions across multiple sites to identify sources of emissions and characterising and quantifying levels of traffic to understand the emissions contribution from transport. A review of existing policies was carried out together with a technical assessment of a wide range of air quality mitigation options. The studies also included Cost Benefit Analysis, Health Impact Assessments with stakeholder engagement and consultation.


The projects resulted in the delivery of an evidence base and recommendations for numerous city low emission strategies across the UK. These were underpinned by the modelling of future emission scenarios according to various policy options, which provided information and evidence for the final strategy recommendations.