“World leading” air pollution plan is ‘severely lacking in detail’

9th March 2019
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Government commits to tighter air pollution standards, but fails to set date and releases a plan severely lacking in detail on how such a target could be met.

Reacting to the government’s Clean Air Strategy launched today (14 January), Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said:

“The government has made a welcome commitment to set an ambitious new target for cleaning up the most dangerous fine particle air pollution, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

“But while the WHO says standards should be reached by 2030, there is no date set in the government’s strategy and the plan is severely lacking in detail on how such a target could be met.

“The biggest problem with our currently illegal NO2 air pollution is road transport – and cars and other vehicles are also a key source of particle pollution, both from exhausts and also brake and tyre wear.

“We therefore need much stronger measures to ensure we not only have cleaner vehicles on our roads but also fewer of them, as well as improving public transport and supporting the switch to electric vehicles.

“If the government is serious about protecting our health, and the health of the planet, it must scrap new road building plans which would add to the problem, and phase out petrol and diesel vehicles faster than planned.”

Friends of the Earth is calling for the government to:

  • Set a target for the UK to meet the WHO standard for PM2.5 by 2030, with plans to ensure that is met
  • Bring forward the date by which the government say they will end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 to at least 2030
  • Require more Clean Air Zones across the country, and to come in sooner – together with a government led, manufacturer-supported scrappage scheme
  • Set plans to cut traffic levels – fewer as well as cleaner cars and other vehicles are needed to tackle air pollution, and also to prevent climate breakdown
  • Investment more in public transport and active travel – which will make our cities and towns more attractive places
  • Not allow new road-building to add to traffic, air pollution and climate emissions