Air Quality - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:44 pm on 24th April 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Parminter Baroness Parminter Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 4:44 pm, 24th April 2017

My Lords, this is clearly a public health crisis, with 40,000 people dying prematurely in the UK every year because of air pollution and many more suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The reason that the Minister has given why this needs to be delayed does not stand proper scrutiny, because here we face a genuine public health crisis, which is a legitimate reason for the purdah rules to be put aside. Given that the department has shilly-shallied about producing its 25-year plan for the environment, it is very good at talking the talk on protecting the environment, but it is not good at walking the walk.

I have two quick questions for the Minister. First, does he accept that after Brexit, when we no longer have the European Union obligations, we need firm air quality targets in UK law to hold the Government to account? Secondly, what comfort can the Minister give to both parliamentarians and the public on the question that, in the absence of the European Union, there is no alternative to costly judicial reviews for the public to hold the Government to account on the crisis of air pollution?