North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald recently joined the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP at an event hosted by the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) to discuss air pollution and the Clean Air Strategy. Sir Oliver joined calls for strong legislative targets to reduce air pollution in the upcoming Environment Bill, expected to be introduced to Parliament this summer.
Commenting Sir Oliver said “For the sake of our children we must act - air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK, and our children are particularly vulnerable.
This January the Government outlined its Clean Air Strategy, and I was delighted to welcome this important step to tackle air pollution. The next stage of this will be introducing clear targets in the Environment Bill to drastically reduce these pollutants and their associated health effects. I look forward to seeing this important Bill introduced to Parliament soon.”
Air pollution is significantly more dangerous for children who are still developing their lungs and are nearer in height to vehicle exhaust pipes where many particulates originate.
Air pollution is estimated to cost society £1.7 billion every year to 2020, which will rise to £5.3 billion through to 2030. This includes the cost of treating related illnesses.
Sam Richards, Director of CEN said, “The evidence of the impact of poor air quality on human health mounts by the day, and the costs of the additional healthcare required are then passed on to taxpayers. It's absolutely right that the Government should bring in targets to clean up our dirty air, and that the emitters of these deadly toxins shoulder the costs of the pollution that they produce.”