Campaigning MP Caroline Flint has slammed a Government proposal to scrap air quality monitoring by local councils.
The Don Valley MP (pictured) said that as the summer heat leads to dangerous levels of air pollution around the country she is supporting families rights to breathe clean air.
She added: “Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths each year in the UK. Yet Ministers want to stop anyone knowing how bad the pollution is, and remove the duty on councils to assess and report the data.”
The Don Valley MP supported measures for Doncaster to measure air quality when Robin Hood Airport opened in 2005.
“The airport responsibly agreed that air quality should be monitored, just as happens across the borough. Does anyone actually think it can be good for the facts about air quality to be hidden away or worse, never measured at all? The Government needs to think again,” she said.
The UK suffers from illegal levels of air pollution – in 2010, 40 out of 43 zones failed to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide. Sixteen cities and regions will not meet these limits until 2020 or in the case of London, 2025 (List of affected cities below).
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: “Caroline Flint 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 in London, 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.”