UK Requires Ambitious New Air Quality Laws To Avert Catastrophe, Lawmakers Argue

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The UK is requiring the implementation of ambitious new laws designed to improve air quality and avoid a human health “catastrophe,” according to a report jointly released by 4 separate parliamentary committees.

The report argues that current air pollution problems are a national health emergency, and that actions to date have not been effective.

“The government’s latest plan does not present an effective response to the scale of the air quality catastrophe in the UK,” explained Neil Parish, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. “We are concerned that the government is treating air quality as a box-ticking exercise. Real change will require bold, meaningful action.”

Reuters provides more: “Parish’s committee issued the report along with the parliamentary environmental audit, health and social care, and transport committees. Last month, the High Court ruled that the government plan was inadequate, following a legal complaint from environmental lawyers Client Earth.

“The report said the government should introduce a new Clean Air Act which improves existing legislation and enshrines the right to clean air in law. It should also establish a fund for clean air initiatives, to be partially financed by the private sector, by the end of this year.

“The committees also said that although the government has promised to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, the target is too late to bring about changes in industry and local government planning, and should be brought forward.”

That last point is interesting. Considering that there are no major mass-market auto manufacturers based out of the UK at this point, it seems a possibility (to some degree or other) that the phaseout date could be brought forward. Perhaps to 2030? Perhaps to 2025 if the government was to be truly “ambitious.”

Image by DAVID HOLT •• CC BY 2.0

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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