Campaigners criticise UK government’s response to air pollution warning
Formal response rejects measures urged by MPs to tackle dangerously high levels of air pollution in British cities
Tuesday 13 September 2016 12.41 BST
Campaigners have attacked the government for rejecting calls by MPs for greater action on air pollution, as severe pollution episodes were predicted for parts of the UK this week.
MPs warned in April that dangerously high pollution in British cities was a “public health emergency”, and told ministers to take further measures, including more clean air zones and a diesel scrappage scheme.
In its formal response on Tuesday, officials claimed that the government was already spending heavily on cleaner transport and that it plans to consult on a framework for clean air zones later this year.
“We will introduce new, tougher targets which will drive down air pollution from all sources, reducing transboundary pollution and significantly reducing the number of premature deaths across the EU caused by poor air quality,” said the response.
The MPs had wanted all cities to be able to charge polluting vehicles instead of just the five which government is planning to allow. But officials responded: “Local authorities can take action as and when necessary to improve air quality and we encourage them to do so.”