Poor air quality causes 40,000 premature deaths in the UK, more than 9,500 in London alone, and Camden is an area that is particularly at risk.
It is unacceptable that a whole generation of London’s school children must put up with poor air quality, affecting their health for their entire lives.
All levels of government have a role to play, as do industry, commerce and individuals. International agreements and cooperation will also be key in order to improve standards and efficiency, and lower emissions levels.
Thanks to the leadership of the Camden Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Democrats as a party have been at the forefront of thinking on environmental issues for decades.
To improve air quality in Camden, London and across the UK, we have outlined a National Air Quality Plan including:
- A legal requirement targeted at the most polluted towns and cities, to create Low Emission Zones.
- New incentives for local schemes that cut transport-related pollution, and encourage walking and cycling.
- Reforms to Vehicle Excise Duty to drive continuous reductions in greenhouse gas and other pollutants from the UK car fleet, including introducing separate banding for new diesel cars.
Additionally, we have committed to:
- Greater investment in cycling including bike lanes, high-volume secure bike parking, and road safety measures to keep cyclists safe.
- A diesel engine scrappage scheme for cars and taxis that are not up to Euro 4 standard.
- A ban on Heavy Goods Vehicle movement in city centres in rush hours.
- More support for the introduction of electric buses and for further incentives to encourage rapid take-up of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles by drivers, including privileged access for the least polluting vehicles to town centres, toll roads and airports
- Phase-in anti-idling devises (all vehicles) over 3 years, 90% diesel vehicles within 6 years & 90% petrol vehicles within 9 years
- Introduce air scrubbing and filtering (to actively clean the air we breath)
Stephen Crosher comments:
“Despite the slogans of Theresa May’s government, we should be very wary of trusting their promises. Their handling of the UK’s air pollution crisis is pertinent.
“Among many detrimental health impacts, air pollution reduces children’s lung function and significantly increases asthma risk. Yet Theresa May fought determinedly against taking action – spending taxpayers’ money – in the High and Supreme Courts.
“And Boris Johnson, when he was the Conservative Mayor of London, did not publish negative repots on how London’s illegal air pollution disproportionately affects deprived schools.
“The Government’s plan – finally released this month after a High Court reprimand – has been roundly criticized for its weak measures and its attempt to absolve the Government of any responsibility. And, what’s worse, a hard-Brexit government would no longer have to abide by the EU’s air quality laws.
“If we can’t trust Theresa May on an issue as important as the pollution crisis and protecting our children’s health, how can we on anything else? The Liberal Democrats are the only party promising significant action on the UK’s air pollution emergency and a stop to a damaging hard-Brexit.”
Kirsty Allan comments:
“Air quality across London has been deteriorating rapidly, and Camden is an area that is particularly at risk. But few people pay enough attention to this. That needs to change, and it needs to change fast.
“London should be a city where we feel safe to breathe, where we’re not afraid to let our kids go outside and play or walk to school because of the long term health consequences of breathing dirty, polluted air.
“The Liberal Democrats have been leading the way on protecting our environment. Our National Air Quality Plan will go a long way in cleaning up polluted areas, raising emissions standards, and promoting green transport while taking dirty vehicles off our streets and out of our residential neighbourhoods.
“This isn’t going to be easy, but we need to get serious about this as a country now. We’ve seen cynical attempts by the Tories to hide how serious a problem this is, and Brexit could further damage our ability to raise environmental standards. We’ve also seen attempts by other countries to undermine global efforts to fight climate change. This proves how urgent it is to work together locally, nationally and internationally to protect and clean up our environment.”