Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry www.cappi.org.uk
Environmental Audit Committee calls for urgent Public Inquiry into thousands of deaths from Air Pollution
The Environmental Audit Committee has published its Air Quality Report today and has called for an urgent Public Inquiry to the thousands of deaths from air pollution
In the past the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution would have helped to review air pollution and make recommendations for remedial action. The Sustainable Development Commission, similarly, might have been expected to address this important sustainability issue. Both no longer exist.
In the absence now of an independent body responsible for air quality, the time has come for decisive action and we therefore support calls for an independent public inquiry to look at the required urgent action on air pollution.
The remit of the Environmental Audit Committee is to consider the extent to which the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and to audit their performance against sustainable development and environmental protection targets.
A letter was recently sent to the Committee by John McDonnell MP and 24 MPs and Peers and the signatories to this letter requested that the Environmental Audit Committee supports the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and that it is initiated as a matter of urgency.
In the last week following information from Public Health England and COMEAP it has emerged that the number of deaths from air pollution each year in the UK which was previously estimated to be 29000, could well be nearly double that figure at 60,000 as only the impacts from Particulate Matter had been considered and it is now known there are additional harmful effects from Nitrogen Dioxide.(NO2)
The report acknowledges that there has been no improvement in pollution in 10 years
Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science told us in our current Inquiry that overall air pollution levels have remained “broadly flat” over the last decade or so.11 Dr Ian Mudway of King’s College London noted that measurements showed “there has been no change” in London.’’
It also acknowledges that the London Taxi Age Limit has not reduced pollution. ‘Euro V’ standards have failed to meet expectations for reducing pollution, making it difficult to demonstrate the impact of such initiatives.
Earlier this year the Green Party formally supported the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry.
Jean Lambert, the Green Party’s MEP for London said
“The fact that thousands are dying because of air pollution each year should be a source of shame for Ministers. Yet, despite the mounting evidence of this major public health threat, the Government is doing far too little to reduce air pollution.
Dave Davies of the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry said:
It is extremely positive that the Environmental Audit Committee has supported the call for an urgent Public Inquiry into the thousands of deaths from air pollution and taken notice of the MPs and Peers who wrote highlightling serious concerns about this urgent situation.
The number of MPs who support the call for a Public Inquiry is growing as it is the only way to establish why previous air quality strategies have failed and the Government must initiate a Public Inquiry immediately. The role of the Environmental Audit Committee is to advise the Government as to what action to take and the new estimates of more than 1000 deaths each week in the UK from air pollution would make it immoral to delay action any longer.
It would surely be political suicide if the Government now ignores the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee