William Eichler 08 August 2018

Council proposes 10-point plan to tackle air pollution

Oxford City Council has called on the Government to adopt a 10-point plan to tackle high air pollution levels which contribute to about 40,000 deaths every year.

The 10-point plan, which was sent to the environment secretary Michael Gove by Cllr Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council’s board member for a safer and greener environment, calls on the Government to end the sale of all new polluting vehicles by 2030.

It also urges the environment secretary to install infrastructure to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and to revise Vehicle Excise Duty to incentivise the purchase of new and second-hand zero-emissions vehicles.

The city council’s plan calls for a revision of the standard driving licence to increase the maximum payload of light goods vehicles and for the implementation of a polluting vehicle scrappage scheme.

Air pollution currently cuts short about 40,000 lives across the UK every year, and health experts have warned that there is no safe level of NO2.

While air pollution in Oxford fell by 22.7% between 2016 and 2017, four of the city’s monitoring locations still register levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) above the legal limit.

Other asks in the council’s plan include the establishment of an independent watchdog to enforce air quality measures after leaving the European Union.

‘There is no safe level of air pollution. Air pollution is an invisible killer, and we want to work with Government to accelerate our pollution protection because, for every day that we don’t, people will live in it, work in it and commute in it,’ said Cllr Hayes.

‘Air pollution isn’t just an environmental concern. Nor is it simply a public health crisis. It’s a clear health injustice — everybody breathes the same air, but the poorest in our communities and the very vulnerable are hit hardest by toxic pollution.

‘It doesn’t have to be this way. Mr Gove has the chance to put the health of towns and cities across the UK first by signing up to our 10-point contract and making the much-needed step-changes to accelerate the electric revolution.’

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