Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill passes Report Stage in the House of Lords

The bill will now have its Third Reading this Friday 2nd December before passing to the Commons where Caroline Lucas MP will pick it up. Although it will then go into the bottom of the pile of Commons Private Member’s Bills this is ready to go legislation that could be picked up by the government, it has been painstakingly tailored over a number of years and would put us at the forefront of tackling air pollution.

One significant change from existing Clean Air legislation is that my Bill applies to indoor air quality. This draft legislation brings the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards to the heart of what our government does. While there are no set standards for indoor pollution the WHO does recommend that “dampness and mould-related problems be prevented. When they occur, they should be remediated because they increase the risk of hazardous exposure to microbes and chemicals.” They correctly state that: “Dampness and mould may be particularly prevalent in poorly maintained housing for low-income people. Remediation of the conditions that lead to adverse exposure should be given priority to prevent an additional contribution to poor health in populations who are already living with an increased burden of disease.”

My Bill would reinforce the campaign by the parents of Awaab Ishak, the toddler who died as a result of mould not being dealt with in his home. His parents launched a petition with Shelter to require landlords to investigate the causes of damp and mould within 14 days of complaints being made and provide tenants with a report on the findings. It would also give social landlords seven days to begin work to repair a property if a medical professional believes there is a risk to a tenant’s health.

My bill has been dubbed Ella’s Law as on 15 February 2013, Ella Roberta Adoo Kissi-Debrah died aged nine from acute respiratory failure, severe asthma and air pollution exposure. She was the first person to have air pollution identified as a medical cause of death on her death certificate.

Sign the petition to support Ella’s Law here