UK city leaders call on PM to take action on air quality

Leaders from the UK’s most polluted cities have urged the Prime Minister to take action on air quality. In a historic move, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and council bosses from Derby, Nottingham, […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Leaders from the UK’s most polluted cities have urged the Prime Minister to take action on air quality.

In a historic move, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and council bosses from Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton have penned a letter calling on Theresa May to prioritise tackling toxic emissions.

The group want to see vehicle manufacturers made more accountable for emissions, with a zero-tolerance approach to malpractice, the implementation of national emissions standards for private hire vehicles and the introduction of greater diesel generator regulation.

They also say the UK needs a new Clean Air Act to update existing legislation and the enshrinement of the “right to clean air” under law following Brexit.

The letter describes the government’s current £3 million fund for local authorities to reduce air pollution as “woefully inadequate” and criticises the uncertainty around funding for transport schemes.

It also says local authorities cannot succeed on their own so the government needs to get more involved and offer strong financial incentives.

Mr Khan said: “The quality of the air we breathe, both in London and in major cities across the UK, is killing thousands of people every year and is creating a national health emergency.

“As city leaders, we are doing what we can to tackle this problem but the fact is we are fighting with one arm tied behind our backs. Lasting progress will only be made if national government matches the ambitious action we are taking.”

Mr Khan has recently announced the introduction of 10 new Low Emission Bus Zones (LEBZ).

ELN has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for a statement.