Toxic Air Reduction Imminent in the UK with the Introduction of a Clean Air Act

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Air quality in the UK could soon be enhanced after Chris Philp, a Conservative MP, introduced a Clean Air Act. The legislation in itself is wide ranging and seeks to lower air pollution across the UK through the expansion of Clean Air Zones and ensuring no vehicles idle unnecessarily outside schools.

Extensive backing

The new Clean Air Act has been extensively backed by different MPs from Tories, SNP and Liberal Democrats to Labour and will see diesel vehicle sales restricted. Local authorities in the UK will also have to engage in tree planting while promoting the use of electric taxis and buses.

MP Chris Philp, who represents Croydon, introduced the ambitious act on 3rd September 2019 citing the importance of the Act to the health of the nation. The MP indicated that air pollution was cutting short the lives of around 40,000 people annually in the country with the old, sick and young hugely threatened.

In the Private Members Bill, Philp also noted that the 2018 joint Select Committee received evidence the largest second cause of deaths that can be avoided after smoking was air pollution.

The government published the Clean Air Strategy early in 2019 seeking to confront air pollution within the UK. While praising the Strategy, Philp observed that with the Clean Air Act air pollution will be handled intensively than what the measures published by government in the Clean Air Strategy seek to achieve.

Proposed measures

The MP indicated that measures in the Clean Air Act involve increasing tree cover in urban regions to help with air pollution absorption, ensuring taxis and buses are electric and deterring drivers with fines from idling outside schools with running car engines. Diesel cars would also be decimated by the Act; diesel cars in the real world were observed to cause more emissions than the same cars in controlled laboratory conditions.

In the proposal, expansion of low emission areas would be carried out, which comes just a few days after the government was requested by leadership in cities to create a national web of thirty Clean Air Zones.

The bill has already passed the first reading, but with the impending government prorogation it might take a while before it is deliberated and passed into law.

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