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.
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. Continue reading “Nearly 2000 air pollution ‘hotspots’”
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Unlike MPs, who receive state funding, members of the House of Lords don’t receive any financial support to employ staff or fund office costs.
As the only Green in the House of Lords, covering as many issues as I can, I need staff to help me with research and press work. I have a small, part time team (equivalent to one full time person) who are paid for from donations from people like you. Continue reading “Crowdfunder to support Jenny’s work”
This week, I attended the Clean Air Parents’ Network Reception in Parliament, where I met with parents and carers who are campaigning to protect children and babies from dirty air.
The Clean Air Parents’ Network launched their new campaign at the reception, calling for a Clean Air for Children Programme, which would introduce a range of emergency measures to protect children and babies’ lungs from illegal and harmful levels of air pollution where they learn and where they play.
The Clean Air for Children Programme sets out a clear plan which ensures local action, with the support of central government, to address air pollution and protect children and babies from its harmful effects.
All children should have the best start in life, and the air they breathe should not stunt the growth of their lungs or contribute to them developing future illnesses such as asthma and lung cancer. Yet despite this, children across the UK are exposed to dirty air every day, and thousands of schools, nurseries and playgrounds are located near roads with illegal and harmful levels of air pollution.
Children living in the most deprived areas are four times more likely to have under-developed lungs, whilst for the 1 in 11 children in the UK who have asthma, air pollution is not a distant threat but an immediate risk to their health and wellbeing.
If you’re a parent or carer, you can join the Clean Air Parents’ Network by signing up on their website or joining the Facebook group.
July 5th is the 62nd anniversary of the first Clean Air Act becoming law
Local people and communities around the country would be able to take legal action to defend their right to clean air if the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill I introduced today became law. This week’s air pollution episode throughout England and Wales illustrates how widespread the legal actions could become, as people seek to get corporations to change their behaviour and to force councils and government bodies to reduce pollution. Continue reading “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill launch”
Some MPs will argue that it’s okay to expand Heathrow while staying within the national limit for climate change emissions. The Airports Commission did come to this conclusion, but I doubt that these MPs read the report’s smallprint about the squeeze on regional airports and a huge price hike (read more about the nonewrunways campaign). Continue reading “Briefing on Heathrow and climate change”
There is a momentum behind the idea of a new Clean Air Bill that can’t be stopped. My own finalised Bill is being submitted in the Lords, while Geraint Davies MP is putting his forward for its first reading in the Commons. Between them, these two Parliamentary bills cover all the ground. Geraint’s is focused upon the practical measures and changes needed to ensure that we improve human health and includes all those basic steps that the Labour, Conservative and Coalition Government have failed to take in the last eighteen years. My bill enshrines clean air as a human right and would restore crucial environmental principles into UK law, such as polluter pays and the precautionary principle. It also creates an enforcement mechanism with the Citizens Commission which can support individuals and communities who want to take legal action to make their right to clean air a reality. Continue reading “Clean Air Bill: momentum that can’t be stopped”
Tomorrow is a crucial day in the House of Lords for environmentalists. I shall be backing an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure that the government’s promised new enforcement agency will not reduce any of “the rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and proceedures that contribute to the protection and improvement of the environment.” Continue reading “Crucial vote in Lords on new environmental enforcement agency”
The decision by the government to support the Mayor of London’s new road tunnel under the Thames is a blow to the thousands of people who will be impacted by the pollution it generates. New roads create new traffic and big new roads like this create a lot of new traffic. Successive Mayor’s have failed to deal with air pollution, this new road will make things worse. Continue reading “You can’t have clean air and build the Silvertown Tunnel”
I have asked the government for new ‘set back’ regulations to stop fracking sites being placed outside the front gate of people’s homes (see photo of homes near fracking drill site, Westby, Fylde, Lancashire). A North Yorkshire Planning Inspector has suggested a minimum 500m limit and I imagine they were as shocked as I was to discover that the government hadn’t bothered with such an obvious public health measure. Continue reading “Frackers on your doorstep are bad for your health”