Responding to the news that 58% of Britons believe air pollution levels across the UK are damaging to their health while 65% support ClientEarth’s campaign for a new Clean Air Act, vocal air quality campaigner Keith Taylor MEP said:
“It’s no surprise that two-thirds of the public want the Prime Minister to do more to combat a toxic air pollution crisis that is responsible for the unnecessary deaths of more than 50,000 people in Britain every year. I, like the overwhelming majority of Britons, support Client Earth’s campaign for a new Clean Air Act wholeheartedly.”
“The UK government is repeatedly exposed as failing, legally and morally, in its duty to take even the most basic action to combat a public health crisis that costs taxpayers more than £20bn a year. In fact, Ministers have displayed an extremely concerning attitude of indifference towards their duty to safeguard the health of British citizens.”
Just last week, it was reported that the EU was preparing to escalate action against the UK for breaching air quality laws. In fact, the latest EU review revealed multiple failings by the UK Government in applying environmental law, with Britain being in breach of vital EU nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits since 2010 and London overshooting its whole 2017 limit in the first five days of the year.
Keith, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Environment committee, added:
“Theresa May’s administration is failing to do the bare minimum, as required by EU laws the UK itself helped to set, to improve the quality of the air we all breathe. The bare minimum. Where embraced and enforced, EU air pollution limits are helping to prevent thousands of deaths every year and saving billions of pounds in direct health costs. This government readily acknowledges that it is EU law that has been the driver of positive air quality action in the UK. But the Prime Minister’s plans for an extreme Brexit puts vital EU safeguards at risk.”
“The government must finally face up to its moral and legal responsibility for tackling Britain’s air quality crisis. Ministers must now be forced to make a firm commitment to abiding by and fully implementing EU air quality laws. Theresa May must also make a new Clean Air Act a means to maintain and strengthen these vital protections as Britain prepares to leave the EU.”
In the South East, almost 5% of deaths can be attributed to deadly air pollution while Eastbourne, Portsmouth, Southampton, Thurrock, and Oxford are amongst the top 15 most polluted cities in the UK .
Keith is a co-signatory of a motion which will be presented at the Greens’ Spring Conference in Liverpool which calls on the Party to formally back ClientEarth’s Clean Air Act proposal.