Lib Dems call for action to improve air quality

The Liberal Democrats have blasted the Government for its slowness in taking action on air pollution, the cause of thousands of premature deaths each year in the UK.

The Party passed a motion at its Spring Conference today which called for a greater empowering of local authorities and the introduction of stricter, legally-binding national limits for particulate matter and other pollutants.

In 2019, fine particulate matter was responsible for more than 33,000 deaths while nitrogen dioxide was responsible for a further 5,750. In spite of this, UK limits for both are set at four times the level of the World Health Organisation guidelines.

Under the proposals, local authorities would receive greater funding to tackle air pollution in their area. This would allow them to install more pollution sensors near major roads and at every urban school, as well as publicising local air quality issues such as live data from those sensors.

The Liberal Democrats are also calling for funding to be introduced to support a shift to clean fuels for public transport.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, Wera Hobhouse MP, said: “Air pollution is a killer. Thousands of people lose their lives each year, with many others suffering from ill health because of it. This is no legacy to leave to our children, who are in particular danger. It is heartbreaking and a damning indictment on the Conservatives, who have looked the other way.

Wera Hobhouse

“It is high time we put the power into the hands of local people and those who have directly suffered from the Government’s failure to act more quickly and urgently,

“The Liberal Democrats believe that everyone has the right to clean air. It is incumbent on this Conservative Government to do all they can to uphold that right, by tackling the air pollution crisis head on and cleaning up their act.”

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