Media Releases



​Coinciding with 50 years of safeguarding the region's air quality, Metro Vancouver is releasing the Clean Air Plan — the regional district's latest ambitious air quality management plan.  "Over the past five decades, we have been successful in reducing harmful air containments with a commitment to introducing policies and actions that protect residents from air pollution. Now we must urgently address one of the greatest threats we face: climate change and its impacts," said Sav Dhaliwal, chair of Metro Vancouver's Board of Directors. "The Clean Air Plan is focused on reducing emissions that contribute to climate change over the next 10 years, supporting our goal of a carbon neutral region by 2050."The Clean Air Plan includes three targets to be achieved by 2030:Reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levelsEnsure ambient air quality in the region meets or is better than the regional, provincial, and federal health-based targetsIncrease the amount of time that visual air quality is classified as "excellent"Protecting air quality is important for long-term livability in the region. Air contaminants are associated with increased risk of heart and lung disease, asthma, bronchitis, and cancer, and these impacts on people increase the burden on the health care system. Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change, which is already hitting the region through extreme heat, wildfires, storms, and flooding."After a year of extreme weather events, now more than ever, there is an urgent need to accelerate greenhouse gas reductions to meet ambitious, science-based climate targets. The clear path forward is to continue implementing policies and programs to reduce emissions and maintain good regional air quality," said Adriane Carr, chair of Metro Vancouver's Climate Action Committee. "Local governments have been taking climate action for decades, but we all need to do more — including supporting businesses and individuals to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in big and impactful ways."The plan focuses on reducing emissions from the largest sources in the region: transportation, buildings, and industry. Modelling indicates that the actions outlined in the Clean Air Plan could reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by about two million tonnes by 2030 compared to 2010, and while this is significant, it falls short of the 6.7 million tonnes needed to meet the target of 45 per cent reduction by 2030. We need to act now, and the plan moves us in the right direction, but more aggressive policies and actions will need to be developed and implemented.Transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, is addressed by making zero emission vehicles more accessible and ensuring transit and active transportation options. Buildings are the second largest greenhouse gas emissions source in the region due to the use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, for providing heat and hot water. The Clean Air Plan introduces actions that move all buildings in the region toward being low- to no-carbon by 2050, largely thanks to the implementation of high efficiency electric heat pumps and other sources of renewable energy for heating. Industry — the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region — will see strengthened emissions requirements.Many actions in the Clean Air Plan will be implemented through Metro Vancouver's regulatory and planning authority, delivery of regional services, and its role as regional convener and advocate. The plan also identifies actions for other organizations and governments.Since 1972, Metro Vancouver has been responsible for managing and regulating air contaminants in the region under authority delegated by the BC Government in the Environmental Management Act. The regional district enforces bylaws pertaining to air emissions from industry, businesses, and residences, sets air quality objectives, monitors regional air quality, and responds to air quality complaints.More information about the service can be found online at the full Clean Air Plan.