Last week we joined clean air campaigners demonstrating at the High Court, in support of lawyers from ClientEarth. They were serving notice on the UK Government for repeated failure to take adequate action on illegal levels of air pollution.
UK air pollution causes tens of thousands of people to die early each year, and contributes to life-limiting conditions in many more. Children, whose lungs are still developing, are particularly at risk.
This isn't the first time ClientEarth has taken legal action: last year they won a victory in the Supreme Court to force the Government to act: yet air pollution across the country continues to breach EU legal limits.
Campaign for Better Transport is proud to be a partner with ClientEarth in the Healthy Air Campaign, raising awareness of the problem, its causes and the action needed to make our air fit to breathe. With emissions from dirty diesel the main factor, transport policy has a crucial role to play.
We’re not alone in backing ClientEarth’s stand. In London, three quarters of adults support the legal action. Air pollution is becoming a major issue in the Mayoral elections. Campaign for Better Transport is part of the team that produced the Greener London manifesto, with specific demands on the next Mayor to expand the Capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and speed up the replacement of diesel buses and taxicabs with zero emission capable replacements.
Manchester is also taking action, with a comprehensive Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan out for consultation until 29 April. Proposals include upgrading the bus fleet and electric vehicle network, reducing the need for HGVs in the city centre, promoting public transport, walking and cycling and a potential Clean Air Zone.
Despite allowing air pollution at lethal levels, with rising costs for the economy and the NHS, the Government continues to spend billions on major new roads, at best displacing and at worst increasing the problem rather than solving it. The need to speak up for sustainable alternatives is greater than ever. If you are worried about new roads and air pollution in your area, our campaigners’ guide is here to help.