Campaign groups call on Environment Secretary Liz Truss to support â€˜early actionâ€™ to tackle air pollution
Environmental campaigners and health pressure groups have accused the government of trying to weaken air pollution targets.
And, campaigners wrote to Environment Secretary Liz Truss last week urging her to show â€˜greater ambitionâ€™ on efforts to tackle air pollution.
The letter has been signed by campaign groups and charities such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the British Lung Foundation as well as ClientEarth, the legal firm which has taken the government to court over its action on air quality.
Signatories to the letter, which was sent on Friday (27 May) have called on the environment secretary to â€œshow greater ambition in agreeing to targets to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants,â€ and â€œsupport legally binding targets for 2025 to prioritise early action to tackle air pollution.â€
The signatories also â€œagree to methane targets in order to reduce ground-level ozone, which is seriously harmful to human health,â€ and â€œreject unnecessary â€œflexibilitiesâ€ that will weaken the legislation.â€
Andrea Lee, healthy air campaigner for ClientEarth, which co-signed the letter said: â€œWe want the UK government to show leadership on air pollution in Brussels, instead it is pushing for higher pollution limits that would lead to thousands more early deaths.
â€œAir pollution doesnâ€™t respect national boundaries. Given our problems with air pollution in the United Kingdom, we should be leading the way in limiting emissions of harmful pollutants from our own sources as well as from our neighbours. Every country and every sector has a role to play in protecting the health of people from air pollution.â€
ClientEarth is taking the government back to court over illegal levels of air pollution in Britainâ€™s towns and cities.
In April 2015 ministers were ordered to develop plans to bring pollution within legal limits as soon as possible.
The organisation believes the governmentâ€™s current strategy, published in December of last year will not do this.
Negotiations are also taking place in the European Parliament in Brussels on the national emissions ceiling directive on Wednesday, 8 June.
The new law will outline how much of certain pollutants each EU country is allowed to emit.