Air Pollution

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th February 2019.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what (a) legislative and (b) non-legislative steps his Department is taking to tackle toxic air pollution.

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

The Government has adopted ambitious, legally binding international targets to reduce emissions of five of the most damaging air pollutants (fine particulate matter, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, non-methane volatile organic compounds) by 2020 and 2030.

We have also put in place a £3.5 billion plan to reduce harmful emissions from road transport. Local authorities have been granted funding to undertake air quality improvement.

We published our new and world leading Clean Air Strategy, which is focused on broader emissions beyond road transport and aims to cut air pollution and save lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised the Strategy as “an example for the rest of the world to follow”.

Through the Clean Air Strategy, the Government has made a commitment to setting a new, ambitious, long term target to reduce people’s exposure to PM2.5, and will publish evidence early this year to examine what action would be needed to meet the WHO annual mean guideline limit of 10 µg/m3. The Government has also committed to introducing legislation to strengthen, simplify and update the legislative framework that applies at the local level in order to both enable and drive further reductions in local concentrations of air pollution. We have also outlined plans to enable greater local action to tackle domestic burning by updating the current Smoke Control Area framework and providing local authorities with more flexible, proportionate enforcement powers.

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