Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West, challenged David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament today.
Geraint Davies said, “The air in our cities including London is toxic and illegal, with diesel fumes contributing to 800 deaths every week – that’s killing 40,000 a year. So why is the Prime Minister, with the Mayor of London, instead of removing the worst polluting vehicles from our streets, lobbying the EU in Brussels to weaken plans to clean up our air, and save lives?”
The Prime Minister answered, “I want a strong car industry in Britain… we are a major investor and builder of diesel engines.”
Speaking after the debate, Geraint Davies said, “Cameron’s answer was to put diesel car manufacturers before people’s lives. His response to this public health disaster is unacceptable. Instead of taking action to remove the worst polluting vehicles, he has instead lobbied Brussels to weaken our plans to clean up the UK’s air.
“In his answer to my question, Cameron made it clear that his priority is to protect big businesses like Volkswagen, who last year were found guilty of installing defeat devices, which means that more toxic pollutants were on our streets. His Government’s failure is costing 800 lives a week and 40,000 every year.”
Earlier this year, Geraint Davies published his Air Quality Bill, which was unopposed in the Commons and included provisions to properly test vehicles, ban the most polluting vehicles from city centres, and give local authorities greater powers to create pedestrian areas and low emissions zones, and promotes a fiscal strategy, such as old diesel scrappage and LPG taxi conversion schemes.
Geraint Davies said, “My Bill puts forward a range of provisions which would help to mediate this crisis. The Government’s failure to implement these suggestions have led to a legal challenge in the Supreme Court from climate charity Client Earth. The Government’s failure to act is illegal and allowing thousands to die every year. The Government must now act.”