TORIES BLASTED OVER AIR POLLUTION CHANGES – MP warns of health risks

Andrew GwynneWith the summer heat leading to dangerous levels of air pollution around the country Andrew Gwynne MP is supporting your family’s right to breathe clean air.  

The Denton and Reddish MP has slammed a government proposal to scrap air quality monitoring by local councils.

Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, said:

“Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths each year in the UK, more than obesity and alcohol combined and the Government faces million pound fines for failing to improve our air quality. Instead of sorting it out, Ministers want to stop anyone knowing how bad the pollution is, and remove the duty on councils to assess and report the data.

“Given parts of my constituency are covered by the Greater Manchester Air Quality Management Area, this is an absolute scandal.”

The UK suffers from illegal levels of air pollution – in 2010, 40 out of 43 zones failed to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide. 16 cities and regions – including areas in Greater Manchester such as those around the M60 and M67 through Denton and Audenshaw – will not meet these limits until 2020 or in the case of London, 2025.

The Government has launched a consultation to stop monitoring air quality – meaning there will be no local data about the health risk of air pollution. The consultation proposes to remove the requirement for local authorities to report or declare local air quality figures. 

The Healthy Air Campaign’s Maria Arnold said:

“Andrew Gwynne is doing the right thing by stepping in to protect the health of local people. Air pollution is an invisible killer, causing heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory disease. Children living near busy roads have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs, and that’s not acceptable.“

Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air, said: 

“Air pollution kills more than 10 times more people than road traffic accidents.  Astonishingly, two-thirds of Conservative MPs responding to a survey said road traffic accidents are a bigger risk.“

“The Government has been caught red-handed trying to hide the facts about air pollution.  It wants to reduce local monitoring and reporting of air pollution and has still not published estimates of deaths attributable to air pollution for every local authority in England.”

“Clean Air applauds Andrew Gwynne MP for highlighting these injustices and holding the Government to account on these important issues.”

Notes to editors

  • Pollution from road traffic, and particularly diesel fumes, is the most significant cause of poor air quality. The two pollutants of most concern are microscopic airborne particles, known as ‘PM10’,  and nitrogen dioxide.
  • The Government  estimates that safe levels of nitrogen dioxide will not achieved in Greater London until 2025 and not to 2020 in the following areas: West Midlands Urban Area, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Teeside, The Potteries, Kingston Upon Hull, Southampton, Glasgow, Eastern England, South East England, East Midlands, North West & Merseyside, Yorkshire & Humberside, West Midlands and North East England. Source: Defra
  • ClientEarth leads the Healthy Air Campaign which is supported by growing coalition of NGOs including the British Heart Foundation, Asthma UK, Clean Air in London, the Campaign for Better Transport, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Environmental Protection UK, Friends of the Earth, Living Streets, Sustrans, Age UK London, London Sustainability Exchange and the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. It is advised by Professor Frank Kelly at Kings College London.
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