Kerry calls for Clean Air Act

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26 July 2017

Air pollution is a growing problem – and one which the Government has repeatedly failed to take seriously. Today’s announcements, including a unambitious target to wait more than two decades to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles, have been forced by the courts.

The Government’s latest plans remain inadequate and I have signed this cross-party letter, calling for a Clean Air Act. A new Act would introduce challenging emissions reductions targets and would require the government - as well as local authorities - to take responsibility for tackling this environmental and public health emergency, as well as providing local authorities with the powers and resources they need for tackling pollution in their areas.

Air pollution is a major problem in Bristol with parts of our city regularly exceeding legal nitrogen dioxide limits and causing 300 premature deaths a year. I am delighted that a joint funding bid by Bristol City and South Gloucestershire councils for £500k was successful, for developing a clean air zone for the region. Eastville’s councillor Mhairi Threlfall, who yesterday became the Cabinet Member for Transport (a welcome and much-deserved appointment), in addition to her duties as Chair of the Mayor’s Congestion Taskforce, will continue to be at the forefront of this work in Bristol. I have no doubt that Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Mhairi and the Council will deliver swift progress, but we also need a stronger national framework from government.

The EFRA, Health, Transport and Environmental Audit Committees launched a joint inquiry into air quality before the snap election, but the dissolution of Parliament put this work on hold. I hope the joint committee will now resume this work and I hope to be involved.



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