MPs Call for Action on Air Pollution Crisis
The government’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) are urging Westminster colleagues to take action to solve what they term an ‘air pollution crisis’ which is responsible for nearly as many deaths as smoking.
In their latest report, the EAC want planning restrictions put in place to prevent new schools, hospitals and care homes from being built in areas where air quality is poor. In the case of schools already built, the committee suggest the application of air filtration technology to improve levels within buildings.
EAC chair Joan Whalley told the Independent, “Well over 1,000 schools around the country are 150 metres away from major roads. Protecting children and vulnerable people in the worst affected areas must be made a priority by government and local authorities. Ministers must pluck up the political courage to take the politically unpopular decisions.”
Other recommendations contained in the report include the introduction of a national scrappage scheme for the most heavily polluting diesel vehicles and the allocation of funds for diesel owners to upgrade their engines. A national plan for ‘low emission zones’, changes to fuel duty to encourage low nitrogen dioxide vehicles and more information for the public on poor air days are other ways the committee want politicians to start to combat the problem.
Public Health England estimate that long term exposure to air pollution has an effect equivalent to 29,000 deaths a year in the UK.
You can view the full EAC report here