I am encouraged by the progress that has already been made to reduce air pollution since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have decreased by 33 per cent and currently sit at their lowest level since records began. However, there is of course more work to be done.
I therefore welcome the Governments decision to establish a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and create cleaner transport. This plan includes a £1.5 billion investment to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, a £1.2 billion investment to increase cycling and walking and create safer roads. Moreover, £880 million has been allocated to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those effected by the plans. This funding serves in addition to a further £2.5 billion made available to support a number of cities improve their local transport systems through the Transforming Cities Fund.
Furthermore, I am pleased following the Chancellor’s announcement at this years Budget that there would be a £304 million investment over the next two years to combat roadside pollution, enabling local authorities to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions.
The Government’s Clean Air Strategy aims to cut air pollution and protect the public, this backed up by new primary legislation. The Clean Air Strategy outlines the measures the UK will take to reduce exposure to particulate matter pollution. It lays out a goal to halve the number of people living in areas with concentrations of particulate matter above WHO guidelines and the WHO’s description of this as ‘an example for the rest of the world to follow’ is a title this country should be proud of.
The Environment Bill builds on this Government’s work by establishing an ambitious, legally binding target to decrease the level of fine particulate matter. It also increases local powers so they can tackle the sources of air pollution. I rest assured in saying that this target is amongst the highest in the world and everyone is set to benefit.
EXPIRES ON 22.1.21