Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle, joined 85 MPs and Lords from all parties have signed a joint letter calling on Michael Gove, the DEFRA Secretary, to implement proposals from Geraint Davies MP’s Clean Air Bill in the forthcoming Air Quality Strategy, to reduce the 40,000 premature deaths caused each year in the UK by diesel pollution.
Following a High Court ruling, the Government is required to publish its new Clean Air Strategy by 31st July, after the UK was found to be breaking EU law with unsafe levels of air pollution.
Peter Dowd MP said: “My constituents in Bootle constituency are concerned about diesel pollution. It’s time for action. Roads such as the A5036, running down to the Port from the M57 and M58, are of particular concern.”
“There are growing concern over the effects of diesel pollution in our communities. It’s time for the Government to take bold action. Diesel drivers who bought their cars in good faith should not be punished but we all want a plan to deliver a cleaner future for our children and our communities. So that’s why I’m calling for the provisions from the Clean Air Bill to be included in the Governments strategy to improve air quality due to be published shortly.”
The letter, signed by over 80 Parliamentarians, was coordinated by the author of the Clean Air Bill, Labour MP Geraint Davies, who is Rapporteur for Air Quality on the Council of Europe and sits on the Environmental Audit Committee. It calls for provisions made in the Bill to be included in the Government’s strategy:
- Restrictions on access for the most polluting vehicles in urban areas
- Targeted diesel scrappage schemes
- New powers for local authorities and the Environment Agency to enforce clean air zones and combat “idling”.
- Incentives for people to switch to cleaner alternatives in all modes of transport
- Reliable, real-time emissions testing
- Rapid development of infrastructure of electric car charging points (at car parks in preference to petrol stations), the main constraint on increasing the number of electric cars on the road
- Action on air quality at ports and airports
- An air quality fiscal strategy
Geraint Davies MP said, “Thanks to the cross-party support for my Clean Air Bill, I have been able to unite growing pressure on the new DEFRA Secretary, Michael Gove.