City leaders will meet today at a UK100 Clean Air Summit and will call on the government to include ‘world-leading’ legislation on air quality in their upcoming Environment Bill.
Leaders including the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles, and Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, will discuss their concerns on air quality directly with the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, and the Health Secretary, Matthew Hancock.
They are expected to say the government must prioritise action to reduce road transport emissions, provide appropriately resourced new powers to tackle other sources of pollution including from buildings, construction and maritime sources.
Leaders are calling for the Government’s proposed Environment Bill to be renamed the Clean Air and Environment Bill and include the following provisions:
- Adoption of World Health Organization recommended air pollution limits as legally binding targets to be achieved by 2030.
- Creation of an adequately funded and empowered, independent watchdog to hold the Government’s actions on air quality and other environment issues, including Climate Change, to account
- Granting Local Authorities the powers they need to deliver zero-emission transport networks.
- Setting and enforcing ambitious standards for local air quality, including for solid fuel stoves and setting energy efficiency standards including for existing buildings.
- Establishing local powers to set and enforce emission zones for non-road mobile machinery such as construction equipment.
- Requiring action from private and public bodies to improve air quality, such as ports, Highways England, Homes England, Environment Agency and Directors of Public Health.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: ‘Our country’s filthy air is a national disgrace that shortens lives, damages our lungs, and severely impacts our NHS. City leaders across the country are united in raising the alarm about the dangers posed by poor air quality.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, added: ‘But we urgently need government to guarantee the right level of powers and funding to help us tackle the scale of the problem without damaging our local economies. That includes adequate funding so we can help businesses make the change to cleaner vehicles.
‘Without this support, we won’t be able to do what’s required to clean up our air, keep our region an attractive, sustainable and healthy place to live and work and – ultimately – save lives.
‘Here in London we have worked tirelessly to clean-up the bus and taxi fleet, encourage clean air innovation and establish the largest air quality monitoring network of any major world city.’
The Clean Air Summit is organised in partnership with UK100 and Unicef UK.