Making Clean Air a legal right

The Times has taken up the campaign for a new Clean Air Bill to ensure that everyone has the right to breathe unpolluted air. Hopefully that means my Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill is one step nearer being adopted by the government.

The wording of this new Bill was commissioned by the Clean Air in London Campaign. It builds on the excellent work by Geraint Davis MP and lays the legal foundations for a whole set of practical policies for reducing air pollution.

There are key legal priorities contained in this Bill that would steer government policy making:

·        the impact on future generations of decisions made about planning and design (we can say definitely No Heathrow expansion); and

·        the precautionary principle applied to new technologies that impact on air quality.

It also provides the basis for an Environmental Enforcement Agency with teeth, which is going to be a key discussion, when the environment Secretary, Michael Gove, brings forward legislation. The Times campaign shows that where Greens lead, others will follow. If they have any sense.