Thangam Debbonaire welcomes air pollution campaign and calls on Bristol’s Mayor Ferguson to tackle air pollution “not just with words, but with action.”
29,000 people die prematurely in the UK each year because of poor air pollution in our towns and cities - including hundreds in Bristol. Scientists have warned that air pollution in Britain’s most polluted cities is stunting the development of children’s lungs.
The Labour Party, if successful in next year’s general election, have committed to deliver a national framework for Low Emission Zones to enable local authorities to encourage cleaner, greener, less-polluting vehicles to begin to tackle the problem.
The Coalition Government legislated in the Localism Act 2011 to force local authorities to pay large EU fines which are levied against the UK for missing European targets in their areas. Labour have said they will go further and devolve the power, not just the responsibility, to Local Authorities willing take action against air pollution.
Commenting on the plans, Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, said:
“Last May I welcomed the announcement of Bristol’s status as European green capital in 2015 as a fantastic accolade that we can all look forward to. However, called on Mayor Ferguson to use it as an opportunity to live up to all associated with it and invest in measures that can help tackle the increasing air pollution that is blighting our city. I check the figures for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the city air each week and the measurements at the two stations in the city centre and M32 are worryingly breaking the legal limits regularly. That is affecting our children’s ability to breathe properly, as recent research has shown.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get far – despite there being much that we can be doing now – making cycling a more attractive option, improving and expanding bus routes and making the buses on them affordable.
“A Labour Government will devolve the power, not just the responsibility, and support local authorities that want to tackle what could seriously become a future public health crisis. I call on Mayor Ferguson to support the recognition the Labour Party are giving to tackling air pollution, but crucially not just with words, but with action.”
- 1. Thangam’s previous comments on this issue: - http://www.debbonaire.co.uk/air_pollution_in_bristol
- Public Health England: Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution- (April 2014)
- 3. Air pollution is stunting lung development in children’s lungs in ways that will affect them for the rest of their lives- Dr Ian Mudway, College London- Oral evidence to Environmental Audit Committee (25thJune 2014)
‘The evidence over the last three or four years that children growing up near traffic in areas with high NO2 and primary particle emissions have stunted and impaired lung development is incredibly strong.’ - http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environmental-audit-committee/action-on-air-quality/oral/11101.pdf
- The Government’s approach to tackling air pollution has been described by the ‘Healthy Air’ campaign (whose members include the British Heart Foundation and Asthma UK) as ‘designed to mask the true scale of England’s air quality crisis rather than make any real attempt to solve it.’ - http://healthyair.org.uk/consultation-response-local-air-quality-management-in-england-review/