Demand Clean Air Zones in Greater Manchester

10th December 2016
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On 2nd November 2016, ClientEarth won a High Court case against the Government over the Government’s failure to tackle illegal air pollution across the UK. In a damning indictment of ministers’ inaction on killer air pollution, Mr Justice Garnham agreed with ClientEarth that the Environment Secretary had failed to take measures that would bring the UK into compliance with the law “as soon as possible”.

Car fumes

Demand Clean Air Zones in Greater Manchester

The Government is consulting on plans to introduce Clean Air Zones in 5 cities in England (Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton) to reduce air pollution.  Unfortunately, Greater Manchester is not currently included – despite estimates that air pollution causes nearly 2000 people to die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year.  (See ‘Background’ below for more details on the High Court case and the impacts of air pollution in Greater Manchester).

Please send a response to the DEFRA Clean Air Zones consultation demanding that Greater Manchester be required to introduce Clean Air Zones to reduce air pollution and that the Government provides the funding to do this.

There are 13 consultation questions but you do not have to answer them all. We have provided a simple response that you may like to include:

I am a resident of Greater Manchester.  My area is affected by air pollution and  levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in many areas across Greater Manchester are above European and UK  limits. It has been estimated that air pollution causes nearly 2000 people to die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year.  In spite of this, the Government and the local councils have not taken enough action to deal with the problem. I would like the Secretary of State to step in and use her powers to insist that Clean Air Zones are set up in Greater Manchester. 

Please respond to the DEFRA Clean Air Zones consultation by December 9th 2016.

Feel free to alter the text if there are any additional points you wish to raise and please answer as many of the other questions as you want to. The full list of consultation questions are listed at the bottom of this post.

Alternatively you could email your comments to: air.quality@defra.gsi.gov.uk

UPDATE: Aslo see Manchester Friends of the Earth’s response to the Clean Air Zone consultation.

Background

The Royal College of Physicans (RCP) reported that air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK and t has been estimated that air pollution causes nearly 2000 people to die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year.

Air pollution has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia.  Earlier this year, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on Air Quality  described air pollution in the UK as a “public health emergency”.

Following the High Court ruling more and stronger action must be taken so that legal air quality limits would be met sooner – so all cities must take immediate steps to clean up their air as soon as possible, and Clean Air Zones must be introduced as soon as possible too to help achieve this.

However in papers uncovered by the recent legal action by Client Earth (challenging the December 2015 plans for being too weak) it was also revealed that a further 10 cities were originally going to get CAZs, before plans were watered down – these cities are Bristol, Coventry, Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Stoke and Cardiff.

Friends of the Earth is calling for Clean Air Zones in all our cities and major towns, more action to cut traffic levels and offer people alternatives to driving, along with the complete phase out of diesel vehicles.

The government’s plans had only expected legal limits to be met by 2020 in all these 15 city areas, but following the success of the Clientearth legal challenge this must now happen sooner. We understand the Birmingham and Nottingham think they can introduce their Clean Air Zoness by 2018, so we are calling for all Clean Air Zones to be introduced by 2018.

DEFRA consultation on Clean Air Zones –  full list of questions:

  1. Are the right measures set out in section 2? [of the draft Framework]
  2. Are there additional measures that should be highlighted under each theme? Please give evidence of impact if possible.
  3. In addition to the draft Framework, are there other positive measures that (a) local or (b) central government could introduce to encourage and support clean air in our cities?
  4. Are the operational standards and requirements set out in Section 3 and Annex A of the Framework acceptable?
  5. Do you agree that the requirements in Clean Air Zones for taxis and for private hire vehicles should be equivalent?
  6. Do you agree the standards should be updated periodically?
  7. If yes, do you agree that the minimum vehicle standards set out in the Framework should remain in place until at least 2025?
  8. Do you agree with the approach to Blue Badge holders?
  9. Is the approach set out suitable to ensure charges are set at an appropriate level?
  10. Do you have any comments on the secondary legislation as drafted?
  11. Do you agree with the approach undertaken in the impact assessment? If no, please provide supporting evidence.
  12. Do you agree with the conclusions of the impact assessment? If no, please provide supporting evidence.
  13. Are you aware of any additional data that could inform the impact assessment? If yes, please give details.

Link to the Deffra Clean Air Zones consultation.