Today my Air Quality in Urban Centres Bill receives its Second Reading. The Bill has the support of MPs from all parties, the British Lung Foundation, the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Last week a report from the Royal Colleges revealed that there are 40,000 premature deaths caused annually by air pollution in the UK.
The Air Quality Bill will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds every year. Our cities are pumping out belches of diesel clouds which threaten the lives of families, in particular young children and unborn babies. The Bill gives local authorities the power to give residents a breath of fresh air by extending low emissions zones, tram systems, pedestrianisation and cycle-lanes, and even to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from urban centres.
Motor manufacturers like Volkswagen, caught black-handed cheating emissions tests need to clean up their act as the Bill brings in tough new tests on diesel-burning cars.
The future is electric and hydrogen powered transport, and the Government needs to provide a national network to top up both electric and LPG vehicles.
My Bill means that the Environment Agency will be able to step in when a pollution cloud has hit an area, so that windows, doors and even roads can be closed, and if necessary local people evacuated until it is safe to return.
There are already too many children missing school because of asthma attacks, caused by big diesel cars lying idly at their gates. Every parent’s first duty is to their child, and my Bill will protect clean air to ensure healthy and happy families.
In his budget, George Osborne needs to ensure we invest in a greener, cleaner future in our cities, so that our children can have a happier healthier future. My Bill aims to take the ‘die’ and ‘ill’ out of dies-ill.
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Air pollution causes tens of thousands of early deaths every year, increases the risk of lung cancer and impairs child lung development. Geraint Davies’ Bill further highlights these unacceptable dangers to the nation’s lung health. Immediate action must be taken by the government.”