William Eichler 28 August 2018

City leaders call on PM to take action on air pollution

Leaders of the UK’s major cities have joined forces to urge Theresa May to take ‘tough and urgent’ action to deal with air pollution.

The 17 local and regional leaders, include mayor of London Sadiq Khan and metro mayors Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram, and Dan Jarvis, have written to the Prime Minister warning of the dangers posed by pollution.

‘Our country’s polluted air is shortening lives, damaging our children’s lungs, and severely impacting on the NHS as well as costing the economy in working days lost,’ they wrote.

‘Crucially, these consequences do not fall equally across our society but disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable.’

‘As city leaders we are committed to playing our part in an ambitious national plan for clean air that prioritises action to reduce road transport emissions, provides new powers to tackle other sources of pollution and creates a framework to support partnerships between local, regional and national Government and its agencies, including Highways England, and business,’ the letter continued.

‘This plan must ensure that local action is adequately supported by activity across Government to tackle air pollution.’

The letter is the result of the first-ever National Clean Air Summit in late June, which was jointly hosted by the mayor of London, the UK100 Cities network and progressive think tank IPPR.

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a 90-strong network of local and regional authorities committed to 100% clean energy by 2050, commented: ‘The best way to successfully combat air pollution is for leaders across the country to work together on solutions and learn from their own successes on the ground locally. But this must be supported by money and policies from national Government.

‘Bringing them all together to agree this important letter to the Prime Minister is our first step in coordinating local leaders to speak with one voice on this issue and get action at national level that will make a real difference.

‘A public health crisis needs strong consistent action, across the country. The local leaders know this is a shared responsibility with Government ministers and want to work together to tackle this.’

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