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Campaigners respond to damning House of Commons air pollution report

8 December 2014
Campaign for Better Transport has responded to a report calling for firmer Government action on air pollution from a House of Commons Select Committee.

Published on Monday, 8 December, 'Action on Air Quality' is published by the Environmental Audit Committee. It calls on Government to take urgent action to reduce urban air pollution in light of emerging evidence that it can increase mortality rates.

The report identifies the need for more action to reduce pollution from cars and lorries within towns and cities. Campaign for Better Transport supports this and has questioned whether its achievement is compatible with other Government policies including the Infrastructure Bill, which is currently being debated.

Sian Berry, Sustainable Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport said

"Roads ministers need to respond urgently to the recommendations of the committee and amend the Infrastructure Bill to meet their legal obligations to reduce air pollution. They can no longer simply brush aside the effects of their road-building plans on the desperately bad air pollution we already suffer in our towns and cities.

"We know that new and wider roads create new traffic, and the Government's plans risk thousands of new trips being generated that spill out into our towns and make existing air pollution much, much worse.

"The new Strategic Highways Company was tasked this week with building more than a thousand new lane miles of main roads and motorways, and yet the Infrastructure Bill currently allows the company to do this with very little regard to the consequences for air pollution and the health of people living near these roads. The recommendation that a legal duty to protect air quality should be included as a specific clause in the Bill is therefore extremely welcome and an amendment should be drafted immediately."

The full report is on the Committee website here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmenvaud/212/21202.htm