The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has poured cold water over the government’s Air Quality Plan, published today (26 July), claiming that the plan “isn’t good enough” to tackle air pollution in towns and cities.
Among the measures outlined in the government’s much-anticipated Air Quality Plan published this afternoon, is a commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel-only cars and vans from 2040, as well as the production of a ‘national framework’ for local authorities to reduce air pollution from road transport (see airqualitynews.com story).
However, the Mayor said that although the commitment to end the sale of diesel and petrol cars is welcome, “Londoners suffering right now simply can’t afford to wait until 2040”.
Mr Khan called for a “fully-funded diesel scrappage fund” to remove polluting vehicles, as well as new powers for cities across the UK to help them take the action needed to clean up the air.
He added: “Without extra financial support for those who bought polluting vehicles in good faith, then any pledge to clean up our air rings hollow.
“I’m doing all I can in London, but we need help from the Government. The health of millions of people across the UK is dependent on the Government showing more ambition in tackling one of the most pressing issues of our time.”
Also responding to the publication of the plan this afternoon Labour MP Mary Creagh, the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, has accused the government of “kicking the can down the road once more” with its proposals.
The Wakefield MP said: “This plan passes the buck to councils to deal with diesel cars, lacks detail on how the Government will replace ancient diesel buses and trains now electrification has been scrapped, and is silent on who will set and enforce air pollution targets after we leave the EU.”
“Recycled pledges to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2040 do nothing to help people living with illegally high air pollution today,” she added. “My Committee had no confidence the Government will meet interim targets on the uptake of cleaner cars.”