The UK Government has published its Clean Air Strategy, which deals with several different forms of air pollution.
While the ambition of the document in some areas is laudable, ClientEarth is worried that the government’s approach to pollution from road transport will leave us all breathing dirty air for longer.
The new strategy, released with much fanfare on Monday morning, refers readers to other plans for road transport pollution that have already been published.
Unfortunately, these plans are already falling apart, as Local Authorities tasked with doing much of the work are missing deadlines set for them by ministers.
Public health not a ‘nice to have’
ClientEarth Head of Public Affairs Simon Alcock said: “This strategy doesn’t address the huge problem of air pollution from road transport that is harming people’s health. It instead claims that it is being dealt with by other plans. What it doesn’t say is that those plans are in total disarray, so once again the government has missed a golden opportunity to clean up illegal levels of air pollution across the country and start protecting people’s health.
“We welcome the stated ambition to halve the number of people living in areas with pollution above World Health Organisation guideline levels but we now want to see tighter legally binding limits locked into legislation in the upcoming Environment Bill.
“Action to protect people’s health must be a requirement, not a ‘nice to have’.”