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Ministers invited to air quality hearing

Dan Rogerson and John Hayes to give evidence on government policy towards meeting targets at final Environmental Audit Committee session

Government ministers are to be grilled on air quality policy during the Environmental Audit Committee’s final evidence session next week.

Dan Rogerson, minister responsible for air quality, will join minister for roads John Hayes at the Portcullis House hearing in Westminster on October 22 to explain what progress has been made towards meeting targets since 2011.

Dan Rogerson will give evidence at the hearing

Dan Rogerson will give evidence at the hearing

Louise Barr, deputy director of the planning directorate at the Department for Communities and Local Government, will also answer questions at the session.

Committee members will grill the three politicians on what the government has done to meet EU targets for air quality, as well as transport infrastructure, public awareness, support for local government and evolving technology.

The session will be the last evidence hearing in the Environment Audt Committee’s Action on Air Quality inquiry, which began in May 2014 with a call for evidence on the health impacts of air pollution.

The purpose is to seek fresh information on recommendations that were outlined by the Committee in a report in 2011.

Inquiry

Launching the inquiry back in May, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Joan Walley MP, said: “Air pollution is thought to contribute to more deaths than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity, yet the UK is still breaching European safety limits nearly five years after EU fines were first threatened.

“The Environmental Audit Committee warned four years ago that an urgent policy response, greater public awareness and a shift in transport policy was required if air quality was to be improved. We will now be examining what progress has been made by central and local government since then in removing the most polluting vehicles from the road and encouraging cleaner forms of transport.”

In February, the European Commission launched legal proceedings over the UK’s failure to cut ‘excessive level of nitrogen dioxide’, while data published by Defra in April showed levels of particulate matter rose across the UK in 2013 (see airqualitynews story).

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