Briefing on Heathrow and climate change

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”

Clean Air Bill: momentum that can’t be stopped

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”

Crucial vote in Lords on new environmental enforcement agency

Tomorrow is a crucial day in the ​House of ​Lords for environmentalists. I ​shall be backing an amendment to the EU Withdr​awal 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”

You can’t have clean air and build the Silvertown Tunnel

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”

Frackers on your doorstep are bad for your health

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”

Clean Air Bill must include new agency to enforce the right to clean air

Four Parliamentary Committees have issued a joint report on air pollution today. One of its key recommendations is that there needs to be a new Clean Air Bill and that should establish a right to clean air. I have already committed to bringing forward such a Bill in the Lords, drafted by Clean Air London.

The pressure is building on the Government to act. Geraint Davies MP in the Commons and myself in the Lords, are both bringing forward draft bills to lay out what the Government needs to do. We need clean air to be a human right and with Brexit happening in the next two years, we need to urgently create an independent, environmental enforcement agency. I believe that we need a Citizen’s Commission to help people take the government and corporations to court if they fail in their responsibilities to public health and the environment. The loss of European Commission oversight with Brexit is both a threat to existing environmental protections and also, an opportunity to create something stronger in its place.

A 25 Year Environment Strategy that won’t last five minutes

The Government’s long awaited 25 year strategy for saving the environment will make very little impact on decisions made in the Treasury or other Ministries, unless there is hard law to make sure it all happens. 

With the UK government already in breach of many of its environmental commitments, environmental campaigners are increasingly reaching for the law in order to make change happen. Client Earth have taken the Government to court over air pollution, and won three times. It’s taken repeated legal threats from the EU for the Government to do anything about cleaning up our polluted rivers. Continue reading “A 25 Year Environment Strategy that won’t last five minutes”