Labour MP for Swansea West, Geraint Davies, has been elected as the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution, replacing Matthew Pennycook in the role, following a meeting this week.
Set up in 2016, the APPG is a cross party group of MPs, Peers, businesses and other stakeholders with an interest in issues related to air pollution (see airqualitynews.com story).
Baroness Jenny Jones, the Green Party peer has also been appointed as a vice chair of the group, joining her Liberal Democrat colleague Baroness Shas Sheehan, alongside MPs Helen Hayes, Dr Dan Poulter, Karen Buck and John McNally.
Previously having served as the group’s Treasurer, Mr Davies has led a concerted campaign for new legislation to strengthen existing laws on air pollution through the introduction of a Clean Air Bill.
Introduced in Parliament as a Private Members Bill in November, the Bill is expected to be debated further in the House of Commons later this month.
Mr Davies also sits upon the Environmental Audit Committee.
Baroness Jones has also championed new clean air legislation, having led a campaign to introduce a Draft Clean Air Bill through the House of Lords (see airqualitynews.com story).
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Davies said: “The APPG meeting attracted dozens of MPs which shows that air quality has surged up the political agenda. With 40,000 early deaths each year, and the Government taken to court for failing to meet air quality standards, the case for urgent change is overwhelming.
“I’m welcoming additions from all parties to my Clean Air Bill to be re-published in June as a Blue-print for action. Meanwhile I’m working with MPs from across the Council of Europe and with the devolved administrations on gathering best practice. The Royal College of Physicians supports the Bill.
“We won’t let Brexit become a vehicle to dumb down standards or an excuse to evade responsibility. We all have a right to clean Air and Government has a duty to make that happen.â€?
Baroness Jones, added: “It has been great to see the surge of Parliamentary interest and support for clean air as a human right. I’m a great believer in cross party working and discussion being the best way of delivering lasting change. There are big challenges coming up with the move away from diesel, the setting up of ultra-low emission zones and the proposed expansion of Heathrow.
“We need to make the switch to electric vehicles as swift as possible and we need traffic reduction.There will be difficult issues that need talking through, but I’m happy that MPs are being a bit more realistic about how much needs to change if we are to protect human health and reach legal compliance.â€?
APPG Air Pollution