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Government clean air plan inadequate, says Friends of the Earth

news release

Responding to government’s plans for improving air quality in cities, published today, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, Jenny Bates said:

“Proposals for Clean Air Zones must include private cars and vans – we can’t continue to let people in our cities choke on dirty air.

“Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people prematurely in the UK every year. Leaving out cars from this action plan is like trying to lose weight without cutting back on cake.

“Business would benefit too if traffic is tackled, with less congestion and a cleaner, healthier environment for people to live, work and travel in.

“London Mayoral candidates must pledge to do much more in the capital so that legal limits are met by 2020 – instead of 2025 as currently planned.

“The Government must rethink plans to build more roads and runways,  we need to clean up our air, not make it worse.”



Notes to editors:

  1. Key measures mentioned in the government document include:

– Clean Air Zones by 2020 in Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby (these will cover old diesel buses, coaches, taxis and lorries)

– Zones in Birmingham and Leeds will also discourage the most polluting diesel vans, and implement other measures which may include park and ride schemes, signage, changes in road layouts and provision of infrastructure for alternative fuels

– In London: reviewing all suggestions for amendments to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) boundary, and undertaking high-level assessment of options, alongside other possible measures (e.g. tightening the standards for the London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) by 2025);

2. Friends of the Earth says:

– the 5 new CAZs must all include vans and cars, and apply to both petrol and diesel. London’s LEZ ULEZ must be made bigger and strengthened;

– Such CAZs are needed in all our cities and large towns – the UK is failing to meet legal limits in the vast majority of areas.

– the government must say no to building any new runways, and re-evaluate its major road-building plans. Such schemes must not add to the air pollution problem.

3. Government’s “Improving air quality in cities


Friends of the Earth press release

For immediate release: Thursday 17 December 2015

Contact: Neil Verlander, Friends of the Earth press office: 020 7566 1649


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