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We must stick to EU air quality targets, say MPs

Deniz Huseyin
28 June 2016
Julian Bell: We are calling on government to make firm commitments to meet air quality targets, enforce standards for diesel vehicles, and introduce financial incentives, such as a diesel scrappage scheme to encourage use of low emission vehicles
Julian Bell: We are calling on government to make firm commitments to meet air quality targets, enforce standards for diesel vehicles, and introduce financial incentives, such as a diesel scrappage scheme to encourage use of low emission vehicles

 

Despite last week’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, the government must retain its commitment to cutting EU limits for nitrogen dioxide by 2020, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for London has stated today.

It is pressing the government to ensure that new diesel vehicles coming on to the market meet EU Euro 6 standards in real driving conditions, not just those experienced under laboratory conditions.

The government must introduce a national scrappage scheme for the most polluting vehicles on the UK’s roads, says the APPG. It should also look at fiscal incentives and penalties to “encourage low emission vehicles to address both the carbon dioxide as well as the particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emissions”.

The APPG is meeting today to consider how the government should respond to research published by King's College London, which showed that air pollution in the London contributes to 9,500 premature deaths a year.

Cllr Julian Bell, chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, says: “London boroughs take their responsibilities for managing and improving air quality very seriously and are doing their level best to tackle the issue – from installing electric vehicle charging points to setting up large-scale schemes to group council deliveries into fewer vehicles.

“But it is clear that pollution does not respect borough boundaries, and councils cannot do this alone: it is a capital-wide problem that requires capital-wide solutions. The boroughs have welcomed the Ultra Low Emission Zone and its possible extension and will work with the Mayor to come up with a suitable boundary. But government also needs to play its part.

“This is why we are calling on government to make firm commitments to meet air quality targets, enforce standards for diesel vehicles, and introduce financial incentives, such as a diesel scrappage scheme to encourage use of low emission vehicles.”

This is why we are calling on government to make firm commitments to meet air quality targets, enforce standards for diesel vehicles, and introduce financial incentives, such as a diesel scrappage scheme to encourage use of low emission vehicles.

Professor Gary Fuller, senior lecturer in air quality measurement, King's College London, says: “Our air pollution limits were set in the late 1990s to be met by 2010 but on current plans we won’t meet them to 2025 or beyond. One clear lesson is the need for regular assessments to ensure that our new plans remain on target.”

The APPG for London, formed in May 2015, comprises 45 MPs and 17 peers, including the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, Heidi Alexander, Stephen Hammond, Justine Greening, Kate Hoey, Margaret Hodge, Lord Andrew Adonis and Baroness Jenny Jones.

 
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