On Clean Air Day – A reflection on the UK Government’s effort to reduce air pollution.

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Have you given your car a day off today on Clean Air Day?

Last month, during the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, we talked about the three main areas that we can act as individuals to help improve air quality: switch to renewable energy; take alternatives in transportation and; act together as a community. This month on Clean Air Day we would like to emphasis on the role of the government.

In December 2015, The Paris Agreement was adopted at the Paris climate conference (COP21).  It is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement and the UK is among the parties stating that they would take every opportunity to reduce CO² emissions and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Over the years, the UK government has submitted numerous national climate action plans to tackle air pollution and introduced measures focussing on reducing the level of Nitrogen Dioxide in the air.  Schemes such as retrofitting of buses, heavy goods vehicles & black cabs, scrappage schemes of older polluting vehicles, and cutting speed limits on polluted motorway sections are all welcome developments.

However, the UK government is also rewriting environmental policies for an easier Brexit.  Here our Managing Director, Georgia Elliott-Smith, has filed a legal case at the High Court seeking a judicial review of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme.

As most air pollution is produced by the burning of fossil fuels and waste, one of the World Health Organisation’s global recommendations is to promote waste reduction and use incineration only when unavoidable and when emissions controls are in place. However, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently published a document called “The future of UK carbon pricing” setting out their plans for a new UK Emissions Trading Scheme but excluding incineration from the measures. That means that the 48 incinerators in the UK can pour over 6 million tonnes of CO² into the atmosphere every year without penalty. This in turn encourages more waste to go to incineration instead of being recycled.

Air pollution is the most significant environmental threat to health in the UK and it is a major cause of diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, stroke and coronary heart disease.

Please donate to Georgia’s legal challenge on this Clean Air Day.

Visit https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/make-incineration-polluters-pay for more information.

%d bloggers like this: