My Lords, I welcome the Government’s proposal. I draw the Minister’s attention to the concerns raised by UNICEF, particularly about children’s health. For instance, children’s lungs, which are developing, are particularly susceptible to toxicity in the air. I suffered from pneumonia as a child, and the risks of pneumonia and asthma are raised by high air toxicity levels. These clean air zones seem very welcome.
The Minister talked about nitrogen dioxide levels, but did not mention particulate matter, which can be so fine that it can enter a mother’s respiratory tract and pass through to her developing foetus, reducing birth weight and impacting the foetus in other ways. Issues such as asthma and pneumonia can result from that. Could the Minister say whether she is also looking at particulate matter in these clean air zones?
As a vice-president of the Local Government Association, I am also concerned about further burdens on local government and what the Government are doing to help authorities get the funds necessary to be effective in reacting to this problem.