The government’s strategy to clean up the UK’s illegal air pollution has been criticised for allowing the UK to slip behind Europe after Brexit.
The plan, which focuses on various types of pollution, but fails to tackle car pollution, by far the biggest polluter, or seek to adequately invest in alternative green and public transport.
Geraint Davies, Swansea West MP and chair of the Clean Air all-party parliamentary group, said, “It’s ironic that the day after the cancellation of rail electrification in South Wales report is published, that the government publishes this strategy, which puts further burden on struggling local governments.
“If the government was serious about protecting our environment then it would be investing in green transport and infrastructure and looking at the real causes of this deadly pollution. Without these provisions, it just seems like a lot of hot air, not a solution to polluted air.”
The UK government lost in court against the NGO Client Earth for the third time in February, over its air pollution, and is now facing legal charges at the European Court of Justice after failing to provide evidence of how it would meet the EU’s air pollution targets.
The Royal College of Physicians say that air pollution causes 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year, at a cost of £20 billion to the economy.
In the UK parliament earlier today, Mr Davies asked Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to support his Clean Air Bill which would enforce the standards and enforcement institutions we enjoy in Europe and match the targets currently set by the EU, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030.
Mr Davies will publish an updated version of his Clean Air Bill later this year.