Government accused of ‘missing the point’ in response to air pollution super-inquiry

Written by Ellie

The government has been criticised over its response to the air pollution super-inquiry carried out by a combination of several parliamentary committees.

Conducted by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Social Care and Transport Committees, the probe concluded that the government needed to do more to tackle the issue.

The government’s response had been to pledge steps such as legislating for a single air quality framework instead of a patchwork of legislation, with better health advice, more use of local authority data, the establishment of a personal air quality messaging system and set a target of halving the number of people living in areas exceeding World Health Organisation air particulate limits by 2025.

All this, however, falls short of what the committees asked for, the chairman of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee Neil Parish MP claimed.

He added: “Our report called on government to promote cross-departmental working, force car manufacturers to contribute to a Clean Air Fund, and commit real financial support to local authorities breaching NO2 limits. We see little evidence of this happening.”

Mr Parish added that the committee is “extremely disappointed” that stronger steps have not been taken against pollution caused by the motor manufacturing sector.

“The car industry is partly responsible for our toxic streets, and seeing the government resist calls for an industry-financed Clean Air Fund is incomprehensible.”

James Thornton, chief executive of environmental law firm Client Earth, also pitched in with criticism, accusing ministers of having “skated over” the commitments the committees sought.

He added that providing more information to the public is useful, but of little use if concrete steps are not taken to deal with the root causes of poor air quality.

Among the steps requested by MPs was that the manufacture of conventional petrol and diesel cars in the UK should happen sooner than the current target date of 2040.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “The response the government’s proposals has produced suggests this matter is far from settled. Expect a lot more pressure to be brought to bear in the weeks and months ahead.”

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Posted on 26th June 2018

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