Air Pollution: Motor Vehicles

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Kate Osborne Kate Osborne Labour, Jarrow

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the level of air pollution from motor vehicles since covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased in August 2020.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Nitrogen oxide levels are rising again after lockdown as traffic levels increase. We continue to take urgent action to curb the impact of air pollution on communities throughout England through our ambitious clean air strategy and the delivery of a £3.8 billion plan to clean up transport and tackle NOx pollution. The Government continue to engage with local authorities to deliver clean air zones, and through the Environment Bill we will take greater action on tackling air pollution.

Photo of Kate Osborne Kate Osborne Labour, Jarrow

As the north-east seeks to reduce its level of air pollution, will the Minister join me in supporting initiatives such as that proposed for the Tyne tunnel, where a new free-flow payment system will reduce carbon emissions from vehicles using the tunnel by a massive 90%? Furthermore, will the Minister commit to working with colleagues in the Department for Transport to ensure that orders to implement the system are introduced to the House when available, so that air quality improves in the Jarrow constituency and in the region more widely?

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The hon. Lady raises an important point. I am really heartened that she is thinking about the health of her constituents, because air pollution, especially fine particulate matter, is the single greatest health impact that we currently have to deal with. I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady to discuss any actions. She is absolutely right to point out that her local authority is taking action on many of these measures. The Government have provided a number of funds to support local work on reducing pollution levels in traffic.