How did we use high-level, co-ordinated media and stakeholder engagement to influence air quality policy in the UK?
Increasing sales of wood-burning stoves for use in UK city centres has greatly contributed to the UK’s air pollution crisis. CPL Industries – a producer of low emission fuels for domestic stoves – wanted the UK Government to crack down on the use of the most polluting fuels such as smoky coal and wet wood, thus encouraging the use of low emission fuels and driving up sales. However, the policy debate in the UK had, until this point, been very focused on road transport emissions, and there was no sense of urgency from the UK Government to act.
We undertook an integrated public affairs and media campaign: directly engaging with DEFRA officials and Ministers to make the case for a ban on the sale of smoky coal and wet wood; bringing together key policy influencers – including think tanks, parliamentarians, academics and health lobby groups – to create a coalition of support for the proposals; and, securing national media coverage – including the front page of the FT – to apply pressure on Government to address this issue.
In 2018, the UK Government announced its intention to implement a nationwide ban on the sale of smoky coal and wet wood.