Lambeth council has written to the government to express concern that the Brexit process will “hamper efforts to combat air pollution”.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove sent on Friday (22 September), the council’s cabinet member for environment and housing, Councillor Jennifer Braithwaite, has called for a commitment to ‘bold action’ to tackle air pollution without pressure from the EU.
The councillor has called for assurance that the UK will not “discard or water down” EU air quality standards following Brexit, and that the UK will continue to work with other European nations to tackle the issue.
In her letter to the Secretary of State, Cllr Brathwaite said: “As current standards on air quality are determined by EU legislation, there is a strong fear that leaving the EU will lead to the dilution of strict air quality standards to suit short-term economic and political pressures.
“The current cohesive working on research and mitigation across nations is also at risk, with the UK limited in its access and influence over European policy makers.”
She added: “The UK struggles to meet current EU standards and this government has failed to prove itself in its ambition to improve air quality levels. It is essential that Brexit is not used as a tool to ignore current standards and there must be a commitment to not only work to meet current standards but also seek to extend them with other European countries.
“In his draft Environment Strategy recently released for consultation, the Mayor of London has committed to the capital meeting World Health Organisation guidelines for PM2.5 by 2030, which is an annual mean of 10µg/m3. The EU objective for PM2.5 is 25 µg/m3, and I would encourage similar ambitious thinking by central government.”