From: Stephen Hardy, George Close, Robertsbridge
Headline for Tuesday this week – ‘Government seeks clean air plan delay’.
The Conservative government is seeking to stifle the publication of its own plan to overcome the real problems of air pollution especially in our cities.
They are using the weasel excuse of being unable to release plans in the run up to a General election.
Why are they doing this? Because the report will make clear both the massive delay already in bringing forward their plans and the enormous cost in terms of lives shortened (the Royal College of Physicians estimate 40,000 premature deaths because of air pollution each year) and working days lost because of the Government’s failure to act against this increasing problems of air pollution.
A short time line (the better to understand Government delay):
June 2008: the EU Air Pollution directive comes into force with a deadline for implementation of December 2010,
February 2014: EU launch a case against the UK for failure to produce any plans,
June 2015: UK Supreme Court unanimously orders UK Government to submit its pollution reduction plan to Brussels by 31 December 2015,
24 April 2017: Conservative Minister Andrea Leadsom says to Parliament she wants the High Court to allow her to delay publication of draft plans and hence start of consultation still further.
You have to ask why this delay. The only conclusion is that the Government simply does not care enough about the lives of its citizens to do anything with any degree of firmness, despite the fact the European Environment Agency’s 2016 report on air quality reveals that only Italy is worse than the UK for early deaths from exposure to nitrogen dioxide, the worst air pollutant.
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