Time for a new UK Clean Air Act?

ClientEarth is part of a new coalition that has launched today to campaign for a new Clean Air Act to help deal with the country’s toxic and illegal levels of air pollution.

The coalition is calling for a new Clean Air Act to:

  • tackle the sources of modern day air pollution that are harming people’s health,
  • improve on existing legislation to ensure that we enshrine the right to breathe clean air in law and
  • ensure the UK becomes a world leader in the new technologies and industries that will help us clean up our air.

The campaign is being launched just a day after a YouGov survey showed 65% of the British public would support a new Clean Air Act. What’s more, 75% of them thought the Prime Minister had a moral obligation to act.

Annually, air pollution across the UK causes an estimated 40,000 early deaths and affects the daily life of thousands of people who have no choice but to breathe dirty air. Illegal and harmful levels of air pollution are found not only in London but in cities like Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow and towns like Truro, Llandeilo and Lanark. Air pollution affects everyone, from the babies in the womb to the elderly. It triggers strokes, heart and asthma attacks, increasing the risk of hospitalisation and death, and causes cancer. It is linked to premature births and stunted lung growth in children.

Following ClientEarth’s recent legal victory, the High Court ordered the Government to set out improved air quality plans in April this year.

ClientEarth Chief Executive, James Thornton said: “This is an urgent public health crisis over which the Prime Minister must take personal control.

“Instead of making the same arguments against taking action that were made sixty years ago, we need the government to wake up to our air pollution crisis. Just as we did back then, we now need urgent action including a new Clean Air Act that is ambitious, fair and far-reaching enough to clean up our air across all of the United Kingdom.”

Find out more about the Clean Air Act campaign.

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