Environmental lawyers say a new clean air bill presented this week in the House of Lords increases pressure on the government to enact much-needed fresh UK clean air legislation.
ClientEarth lawyer Katie Nield said: “There is an urgent need for government, especially as the UK prepares to leave the EU, to come up with new consolidated legislation that protects people’s right to breathe clean air and provides a stronger and clearer framework for action to tackle air pollution. This new proposal should prompt further, much-needed debate on the topic.
“The UK is still suffering day to day with illegal and harmful levels of air pollution and ClientEarth has long been calling for a new Clean Air Act which is fit for the 21st century. With the second bill on the subject now being presented, momentum is building.”
ClientEarth lawyers have been calling for a new Clean Air Act that:
- Enshrines the right to breathe clean air into domestic law
- Sets new, more stringent legal limits for ambient air quality, which reflect WHO guidelines
- Imposes duties on national and local authorities to collect adequate information on air pollution, and proactively provide the public with that information
- Makes clear the roles and responsibilities of actors including the UK government, devolved governments and local authorities in improving air quality
- Imposes duties on public bodies to take measures to reduce human exposure to air pollution
- Is backed up by a watchdog body which has the teeth to take public bodies to court
The second hearing of a separate clean air bill, introduced by Geraint Davies MP, has also been heard this week in the Commons.