Green MEP slams Government’s latest air pollution plan

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Parliament’s Transport and Environment Committees, marked Clean Air Day by submitting a response to the Government’s latest air quality consultation and calling on Ministers to take responsibility for the toxic crisis blighting the UK’s towns and cities.

In his response, the senior Green Party politician said:

“The approach set out by the Government, in the initial Air Quality Plan and in this supplement, is to focus only on the current problem areas. Whilst it is of course an imperative to bring areas in excess of the recommended limits back to safe levels as quickly as possible. But focusing only on these particular roads is short-sighted and misses the point of delivering sustainable mobility more generally.

We need to tackle air pollution, not just in small fragments of urban areas, but across the board. For our towns and cities to be cleaner, healthier and greener areas, the route of the problem – the fuel powering the vehicles needs to change.”

He continued:

“Local government could be supported by Government providing financial support to implementing the measures, and in investing money in sustainable transport across the UK and stopping road building and large infrastructure projects like HS2. If all of the money earmarked to these vanity projects was invested at the local level across all regions of the country, the positive social, health and environmental benefits would be tangible.”

Mr Taylor also criticised the Government for its overall appalling response to the UK’s air pollution crisis.

This latest ‘supplement’ is the result of three High Court defeats at the hands of ClientEarth, who have long argued that the Government has not gone far enough in its efforts to clean up our toxic air.

Despite this, the Government stated that they do not expect anything new to emerge from seeking stakeholder input on this latest supplement. In a week where the Plan to remove diesel and petrol cars from our roads has been watered down, the evidence has never been more stark that this Government does not care about this issue at all.

At a time when our leaders need to be more open-minded, more dynamic and less resistant to change for the good of the public, they are exactly the opposite. Keith remains steadfast in his commitment to addressing the issue and he will continue to push to highlight the urgency by which this health emergency needs to be addressed.