Clean Air Strategy

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 20th June 2019.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment and Climate Change)

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on delivering the clean air strategy 2019.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular discussions with his counterpart at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Discussions are also held at an official level about delivering the clean air strategy and relevant provisions that we hope to bring forward in the forthcoming environment Bill. Local authorities will continue to play a vital role in delivering improvements to the air that we all breathe.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment and Climate Change)

The Minister knows that Bath has a considerable air pollution problem. Idling cars make a measurable contribution to inner-city pollution. I recently tabled a private Member’s Bill to give local authorities greater enforcement powers to stop idling cars. Will the Minister consider my proposal to strengthen anti-idling legislation?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I believe this is already circulating around the Government and has been for a couple of months. I hope that an announcement will be made very soon.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Conservative, Chelsea and Fulham

One local council that could do a much better job on air quality is Labour-controlled Hammersmith and Fulham, by reopening Hammersmith bridge. The diversion of traffic through Fulham and Chelsea is horrendous. Will the Minister join me in calling on the council and the Mayor of London to introduce proper air quality monitoring, particularly on Fulham High Street, to properly assess the catastrophic impact of the council’s decision?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

It is fair to say that air quality across the country is improving, but these sorts of congestion hotspots are really damaging that progress. I absolutely agree with my right hon. Friend that the bridge should be opened as quickly as possible.