Government proposals to reduce air pollution: charity accuses ministers of abdication of responsibility

News from Brake

5 May 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

 

The government has today (5th May) produced a draft air pollution consultation after a protracted legal battle with campaigners.

The government is seeking views on these proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by 31 July. All final decisions will be taken by the incoming government. The consultation will run until 15 June.

The proposals suggest it is for local authorities to develop plans for clean air zones. There is also a suggestion that speed bumps on local roads could be removed, as well as other ‘traffic management measures’.

According to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution across the UK is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths every year.

The UK has struggled to keep within EU limits on some pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is produced by diesel engines and is linked to a range of respiratory diseases including asthma. Some 37 of the 43 regions of the UK are in breach of NO2 limits.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety and sustainable transport charity, said: “These proposals had to be dragged out of the government, who fought against it in the courts, and lost. We will study the details in the plan, but the headlines give us cause for concern. It appears the government has abdicated responsibility for reducing air pollution to local authorities. If any issue needs tackling on a national – and international – level, it’s this one. We have a national health emergency, and the government is kicking the issue into the long grass.

“The idea that removing speed bumps on local roads will somehow reduce air pollution is both cynical and misguided. Most of the pollution comes from vehicles travelling on major routes, in big urban conurbations. Speed bumps are a red herring and the government knows it.”

Note to editors

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

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