Sunday, 5 March 2017

Campaigning for a new Clean Air Act

A year ago, stories were gathering over the deadly effects of pollution:
Futures Forum: "Over 40,000* people die each year in the UK directly because of air pollution and it is simply unacceptable."

Much of the campaigning was from Sustrans - which is continuing to push for better air quality:
Futures Forum: Sustrans: and cycling to college and university

This is its current campaign:

We’re calling for a Clean Air Act for the 21st century

We are calling for a new Clean Air Act
15 February 2017
We have joined a call for a new Clean Air Act, as part of the Healthy Air Campaign, a coalition of health, transport and environment organisations demanding urgent action to improve air quality in the UK.
The current Clean Air Act came into force 60 years ago, tackling the pollution caused by fires in people’s homes. We now face a challenge on a similar scale largely as a result of motor traffic. We are calling for a new Clean Air Act of the scale and scope reflecting the challenges we face today.
Such an Act must include provision to help a modal shift away from motorised traffic and towards walking and cycling for short journeys.

Why we need action now?

Annually, air pollution across the UK causes an estimated 40,000 early deaths and affects the daily life of thousands of people who have no choice but to breathe dirty air. Illegal and harmful levels of air pollution are found not only in London but in cities like Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow and towns like Truro, Llandeilo and Lanark. Air pollution affects us all, from the womb to old age. It triggers strokes, heart and asthma attacks, increasing the risk of hospitalisation and death, and causes cancer. It is linked to premature births and stunted lung growth in children. It doesn’t have to be like this. We have the technology and the tools to clean our air.
All we need is leaders brave enough to act.
Rachel White, our Senior Policy & Political Advisor said: “We need a cross-government approach to tackle air pollution that maximises the co-benefits for physical activity, health inequalities, congestion and climate change. This requires action from across transport, environment, public health and planning departments.
“A new Clean Air Act is the only meaningful commitment that the Government can make to drive real change across the UK and it must include measures to help people change the way they travel short journeys. A shift to cycling and walking journeys not only benefits the air we breathe but it reduces our exposure to air pollution compared to when we are sitting in a car. The benefits are clear – now we need leadership.

We are calling for a Clean Air Act that will:

  • Tackle the sources of modern air pollution, such as diesel, and accelerate the shift to zero emissions transport;
  • Improve and strengthen existing legislation, enshrining the right to breathe clean air into law, so the UK has the most ambitious air quality legislation in Europe;
  • Make the UK a world leader in clean technology, creating the jobs and industries that will help us, and others, clean up our air.
Join the campaign and together we can make sure everyone has the right to breathe clean air.
The campaign is run by Client Earth. Add your voice and sign up to be kept up to date of national and local activities happening. Contact cleanairact@clientearth.org for more information.
We’re calling for a Clean Air Act for the 21st century | Sustrans

Meanwhile, Southampton is pushing for something to be done by central government:
Southampton joins other highly polluted areas in calling on Theresa May for air quality action (From Daily Echo)

And even rural Cornwall is considering drastic measures:
Cornwall air pollution: Residents 'could be moved' - BBC News

Whilst new developments in Devon are being questioned over the impact on air quality:
Plan for 326 houses on edge of Crediton moves a step closer | News | Crediton Country Courier

This comes as the UK is being lambasted by the EU:
European Commission issues 'final warning' to UK over air pollution | The Independent
UK issued 'Final Warning' To Curb Horrific Air Pollution Levels : ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE : Science Times

Of course, this part of the country is not as bad as others:
Mapped: Where is air pollution killing the most people? - Telegraph

The County has adopted various policies over the years:
Devon approves £8.5 million road to tackle air quality - Air Quality News
Are polluted Plymouth and Exeter planning to introduce congestion charges? | Plymouth Herald

And the District has its policies:
Air quality - East Devon

We still have to ask, however, the extent to which any new developments threaten to exacerbate the situation:
Futures Forum: Air pollution and over-development: Exeter and East Devon "recording high readings" of nitrogen dioxide emissions

With particular examples happening now:
Straitgate Action Group: AI's applications to dig up Straitgate and haul it all the way to Uffculme go ‘live’

The problem is that air pollution is not 'visible':
Futures Forum: Air pollution: "We all have a part to play to cut environmental pollution. We can't see it, smell it or taste it, which is why people do not necessarily think we have a problem,"

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