A data audit by Friends of the Earth has revealed the 1,845 sites across the UK that have breached the annual Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels, which is set to protect health. High levels of NO2 can cause a flare up of asthma or symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing. A leading cause of NO2 pollution is emissions from road traffic.
FoE rightly argue that the solution is to set up Clean Air Zones, similar to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone that is being created in central London. The government are opposed to councils using charges to exclude the most polluting vehicles, but it is the only realistic way of reducing pollution quickly. The money raised could be used to improve public transport and improve facilities for walking/cycling.
My Clean Air Bill would make clean air a legal right and enable parents, asthma sufferers and others to challenge councils and government over their inaction.