Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East of England called for ‘increased urgency’ over air quality problems in Member States
A Green Party MEP has called for controls on air pollution to be brought in, which would have a similar scope to anti-smoking laws.
The comments come in the wake of an announcement last week by the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that outdoor air pollution is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.
Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East of England said that as a result of the revelation, which lead the WHO to class air pollution as a carcinogen to humans, greater action is needed at government level to tackle the problem.
Mr Taylor, said: “The evidence from the WHO suggests that the risk from air pollution is similar to that from second hand tobacco smoke. Surely then we should expect controls on air pollution from transport similar in strength to those brought in to protect the public from passive smoking. With this new evidence being published its clear that failing to act on the air pollution problem would be utterly unforgivable.â€?
He also accused the UK government of ‘ignoring’ air pollution and claimed that it was attempting to ‘undermine’ action around the issue.
“Try as it might the UK government can no longer pretend that the air pollution problem can be ignored, not when the World Health Organisation classify it as a group one carcinogen.
“It’s time for the EU to adopt stronger air pollution laws that fall in line with World Health Organisation guidelines and its time the UK government works on behalf of the health of its citizens and stops trying to undermine this vital legislative programme.
“I’ll continue to campaign for clean air and fight any moves to weaken vital air pollution laws.â€?
Meanwhile, the Brighton Green Party has said that the findings support their calls for a Low Emissions Zone in the city.
Green councillor Ian Davey, lead member for transport on Brighton & Hove city council, said: “The only way to clean up the air we all breathe is to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on our streets. This involves making public transport, cycling and walking safer and more reliable, and working with partners like the bus company to reduce the emissions from their vehicles.
“We’ve always known that pollution is bad for our health, but this announcement shows that more needs to be done to tackle this invisible killer. That is why the work we are currently doing looking at setting up a Low Emissions Zone in the centre of the city is so important.â€?