There is no logical reason why you would want to replace the Edmonton Incinerator in North London, nor build any of the other 50 new waste incinerators that are in the planning pipeline at the moment.
Although old train engines and boats do contribute to air pollution, they will be fairly localised and minimal compared with other emissions being pumped out by, for example, the Government building new roads or opening new coal mines—or indeed allowing the growth of incinerators all over the country that operate without proper regulations.
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The City of London Corporation, London Councils, Clean Air London, a Lib Dem Peer and a Green Peer: these are people you might not think would naturally link together—but on this issue we are speaking with one voice. There is a problem and we have to fix it, and this is how you can fix it.
What is the point of having targets if there is no duty to meet them?
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Please understand that this is a public health crisis. I have tried to get the issue of air pollution into other Bills, but I was always put off and told that whatever Bill it was was not the right Bill to put air pollution in. When we are talking environment, this, the Environment Bill, is the Bill to add air pollution as a serious issue.
I have tabled the following amendment to the Environment Bill that would enable Metro Mayor to set tough air pollution standards for their area and give local authorities more power to act on sources of bad air such as wood burning stoves.
This is an almost sneaky little piece of legislation, because it is presented as a regulation to continue the status quo but it is actually backfilling a regulatory loophole that was created by the Government; it did not have to be created. I am concerned that this little loophole has allowed some highly polluting vehicles to be sold in Northern Ireland. It is only in September of this year that the loophole will close, so highly polluting vehicles can still be sold until then. Clearly, it was negligent of the Government to allow this to happen. For some strange reason, they dropped Northern Ireland out of the EU emissions regime two weeks before the end of the transition period and then allowed a nine-month window of lawlessness when it came to selling polluting vehicles.
Air pollution is a national health crisis: it costs us billions every year. It affects the old and the young. Several of us have mentioned Ella Kissi-Debrah, who lived next to a dirty, filthy road and died at nine years old because of her asthma. It is children who will have health problems all their lives because of living near polluted roads. This Bill is an ideal opportunity to fix this problem. We know what the solutions are, and they are here in these amendments.
My amendments seek to create a comprehensive system of targets, monitoring and funding to reduce air pollution levels to World Health Organization guideline levels. It is not possible to end this crisis without significant public spending. The Government must make the money available to local authorities to transform their communities and clean up their air.Continue reading “Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 5 – Air Pollution”
We all know that the international waste economy is a nasty, polluting system, where the richest countries are using the poorest countries as dump sites—as giant landfill sites. Many people would be outraged to see that the recycling that they so carefully do is just baled up and dumped on poor countries and among poor communities, who then have to suffer the pollution that it causes.
I am also concerned about the increasing capacity of UK incinerators. From what I can see, the planned capacity of these incinerators will soon far exceed the amount of waste that the UK produces. Many local authorities are, of course, tied into 25-year contracts with such businesses. This means they will be looking around for waste to burn.Continue reading “Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 5 – Waste”
Amendment 104 would enable penalties to be issued, taking into account a whole host of factors such as the gravity of the failure, any intention of negligence, and previous failures by the authority. The inclusion of the principles of effectiveness and proportionality makes my amendment wholly reasonable, and is necessary for ensuring that the ambition in this Bill is not trashed by poorly governed public authorities.
Amendment 104 would use these penalties to fund the NHS and local authorities to reduce the harms of air pollution and treat the associated illnesses, which very much affect children as well as adults. Continue reading “My amendment 104 to aid enforcement by OEP”