Members of both Houses of Parliament have called for a public inquiry into air pollution in the UK due to concern over “insufficient action” from the government and other agencies on the issue.
25 MPs and Peers have signed a letter sent to the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Labour MP Joan Walley, calling for “meaningful action to be taken to stop thousands of deaths from air pollution each year”.
Drafted by the Campaign for an Air Pollution Inquiry group, the letter was sent on Wednesday night by Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell, and expresses concern over the UK currently facing court action from the EU over “horrendous levels of air pollution”.
Mr McDonnell MP said: “As is consistently shown from expert reports and campaigning groups, the dangerous levels of pollution in this country is having disastrous consequences for our communities. Despite the UK having one of the worst records of any European country for exceeding EU air pollution limits our government has failed to take meaningful action. I support petitioners in calling for an inquiry in order to expose and overcome the obstacles which have been preventing action on this critical issue and to outline what needs to be done. “
The EAC is already currently holding an inquiry into air quality in the UK, which was launched in May this year (see airqualitynews.com story) and is expected to begin putting together its final report shortly.
Nonetheless, Dave Davies of the Campaign for an Air Pollution Public Inquiry said he was “extremely pleased with the significant number of MPs and Members of the House of Lords who are supporting the call for an urgent public inquiry”.
He added: “It is of serious concern that the government and some leading politicians, including the Mayor of London, have chosen to ignore the situation or worse still make claims that they have taken steps to reduce pollution, when in fact the air quality measurements clearly show that there has been no improvement in air quality and in fact the emissions per vehicle has actually got worse.
“It was recently confirmed by leading scientists that Oxford Street is one of the most polluted streets in the world. Thousands of deaths continue each year because of the current and previous failed air quality strategies.”
Mr Davies has also launched an online petition calling for a public inquiry into UK air pollution. The petition closes on March 30 2015 and as of November 14 2014 had collected 349 signatures.