Environmental campaign group ClientEarth has described the General Election as an opportunity to ‘safeguard’ the environment and raise the political profile of efforts to tackle poor air quality.
On Tuesday (April 18), Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to call a snap General Election on 8 June, having previously pledged not to call an election before 2020.
ClientEarth, the activist legal charity, released a statement on its website on Tuesday, following the Prime Minister’s announcement and called for assurances from the government over its plans to improve air quality ahead of the ballot.
James Thornton, the organisation’s chief executive, said: “A snap election is a perfect opportunity for all parties to put the environment and pollution at the heart of this election.
“Party leaders must set out their manifesto promises to safeguard the natural world, protect our health from poor air quality and to show leadership on climate change.
According to Mr Thornton, the current government had shown signs of ‘dither and delay’ and there is now a ‘question mark’ over the Air Quality plan which High Court ordered ministers to produce by July 2017.
Mr Thornton continued: “The government was ordered to start consulting on their new draft plans by next Monday, 24 April. Given the Prime Minister’s plans to go to the polls, we need to know what the plan is to ensure that our air will be made safe to breathe.
“We need guarantees from all party leaders that whoever is in power after the election will introduce a national network of clean air zones and act to keep the most polluting diesel vehicles out of our towns and cities.”
Pressure group Friends of the Earth also responded to the announcement of the general election. In a statement on the group’s website, Craig Bennett said: “Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election. She says she needs a strong mandate for her Brexit plans.
“I think the election also gives the Prime Minister and other political party leaders a perfect opportunity to recommit to existing environmental protections and improve the health of our environment, year on year.”