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Air Pollution

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 21 November 2013

Air quality in the United Kingdom has improved significantly over many years, but it still has an effect equivalent to reducing the average life expectancy of everyone living in the UK by six months. The Government are committed to ongoing work to reduce the impact and have invested many billions of pounds in measures that will help to reduce air pollution from transport, energy and industrial sources.

With 29,000 early deaths from poor air quality, a Supreme Court judgment against the Government and the World Health Organisation saying that poor air quality is a primary cause of cancer, what more can the Government do to avoid a public health crisis?

If we take the transport sources of air pollution, for example, we have invested over £1 billion in measures to promote growth in electric vehicles, which will help to transform future air quality, along with cleaner buses and a range of other policies. We are also negotiating at the European level for better standards in diesel vehicles, which contribute significantly to oxides of nitrogen levels.

Most of the polluted roads in the country are in London. What meetings has the Minister had with the Mayor of London to address this serious situation for residents in the capital?

In the last month I have had no such meetings, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has met the Mayor to discuss this issue.