As the Conservative leadership contest rumbles on with the final two, Brexit and tax cuts continue to dominate, with a curious absence of offering a more radical environment policy in particular to tackling the UK’s toxic air.

It may be because three of the four serious contenders are in the current government, with latest leadership casualty, Michael Gove, environment secretary. It’s no wonder then him and his cabinet colleagues are keen to defend the government’s progress to date.

Yet, as the young woman from Glasgow pointed out during the BBC’s televised debates on Tuesday, the government’s current measures don’t go far enough, nor do they reflect the emergency that we really face in this country. 

Each year in the UK 66,000 people die prematurely because of air pollution. If dirty drinking water caused the same early death toll there would be a public outcry. However, this is not a leadership priority and the government are dragging their heels.

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