MPs slam government for failing to grasp "the serious impacts of poor air quality" on British people

 
Rebecca Smith
Last month a High Court ruling said UK government plans to tackle air pollution were insufficient
Last month a High Court ruling said UK government plans to tackle air pollution were insufficient (Source: Getty)

MPs aren't impressed with the government's progress on air quality.

A letter from Conservative MP Neil Parish, chairman of the Commons environment committee, sent yesterday to environment minister Therese Coffey, said the government had not been convinced it was doing enough to tackle the problem.

"We are extremely concerned that, despite the courts twice rejecting its plans, the government has failed to grasp the serious impacts of poor air quality on British people," he wrote in the letter.

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A parliamentary debate on air pollution will be held this afternoon and Parish wants "better answers" from the government and a pledge that new plans will make sure action is taken to clamp down on air pollution at the "earliest possible date".

Parish said:

We repeat our call for urgent publication of a comprehensive air quality strategy containing positive measures to protect the public from the invisible threat of air pollution.

We also demand leadership from the government and funding to ensure that local authorities can deliver a network of Clean Air Zones for the dozens of cities exceeding EU pollution limits.

Last month, the High Court ruled against the government, stating air pollution plans needed to be rejigged so the UK achieves compliance with EU nitrogen dioxide limits at the earliest date.

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It comes after Plume Labs issued a report last week, warning parents in the capital to "take care" when taking children outside because of the level of air pollution, advising people to avoid major roads. It put the level at high, based on World Health Organisation limits and said people should "take it easy" when cycling or eating outside.

Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to bring forward the introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone to 2019 and has plans for a £10 emissions surcharge on high polluting vehicles. He announced earlier this month that funding on improving London's air quality will be doubled to £875m over the next five years.

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