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Air Pollution

Volume 699: debated on Tuesday 20 July 2021

What steps the Government are taking to work with partners in the global south to reduce deaths from air pollution ahead of the COP26 summit. (902993)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the work he does as the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on air pollution. Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to human health and it results in 7 million premature deaths globally. The UK is showing global leadership in this area, and since 2011 UK international climate finance has provided 33 million people with improved access to clean energy and reduced or avoided 31 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

University College London found in its February report that 8.7 million people die each year due to air pollution from fossil fuels. That is one in five deaths globally, and one in three in eastern Asia, including China, which now produces more emissions than the EU and the US combined. Will the Minister press the Government to show leadership at COP26 by enshrining World Health Organisation air quality limits in the Environment Bill to help prevent tens of thousands of avoidable deaths in Britain, and millions abroad?

The hon. Gentleman is right to raise east Asia, but there is also south Asia and the Pacific. We are working closely with the COP26 energy transformation, transition and zero-emission vehicles campaigns to make sure there is closer integration with public health objectives. This will facilitate a global, green, healthy and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. I am happy to work with the all-party group in this regard.