Thursday, 15 March 2018

MPs warn of 'poisonous air' emergency costing £20bn a year



MPs have demanded an end to the UK's "poisonous air" in an unprecedented report from four Commons committees.

 
The Environment, Health, Transport and Environmental Audit committees want a new Clean Air Act, and a clean air fund financed by the motor industry.


They are also demanding a faster phase-out of petrol and diesel cars - currently set for 2040.


The government said air pollution had improved significantly since 2010 but there was "more to do".


MPs have been frustrated by the response from ministers, who have promised to publish a comprehensive clean air strategy later this year.

Their report says: "Air pollution is a national health emergency resulting in an estimated 40,000 early deaths each year, costing the UK £20bn annually.


"It is unacceptable that successive governments have failed to protect the public from poisonous air.


"Despite a series of court cases, the government has still not produced a plan that adequately addresses the scale of the challenge. Nor has it demonstrated the national leadership needed."


The report - the first time that four committees are thought to have collaborated - urges the Treasury to take greater account of the costs of air pollution when setting tax and spend policy, after tax changes by the former Chancellor George Osborne left a Porsche driver paying the same tax as the owner of a low-pollution Prius.


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders told BBC News that a clear air fund worth £220m had already been set up by government, paid for by changes to vehicle taxation.


"In addition, vehicle manufacturers are funding scrappage schemes to get the older vehicles off the road," Mike Hawes said. "Other sectors must also play their part in improving air quality."




BBC        News.