Every breath you take
As someone who has lived in London for most of my adult life and an avid cyclist, I am concerned about pollution. With three small children who I cart around in a cargo bike, I worry a lot about its impact on their lungs and mine. We breathe it and we feel the dirt.
9600 early deaths a year are attributed to pollution in London alone. There are 40,000 across the country. It’s a silent killer, but deadly. For the first time this year it was revealed that the tragic death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine year old girl who died in February 2013, would not have happened without unlawful levels of air pollution. That’s a precious life lost to a preventable epidemic.
The current government has not enacted any meaningful measures to address the pollution crisis; indeed, they have only sowed confusion, kicking the problem to local government agencies stripped of meaningful finances and power.
So how do we create incentives for change that are so desperately needed for long term health?
Well, Renew supports a radical clean air act to follow on from the 1956 Act, which was an important milestone in the development of legal framework to protect the environment.
We must invest in clean public transport; not politically motivated schemes like HS2, but ones that will help people across the country to get to work on affordable green rides. Public transport must run with ultra-low emissions within five years to have a meaningful impact on our emission commitments.
Renew will encourage the move to electric cars, rolling out electric points across the country and phasing out polluting vehicles. And we must incentivise delivery companies to reduce road tax liability by ensuring their fleets meet best-in-class emissions standards.
At the local level, we will advocate for air filters in schools that are near busy roads - a short-term solution until we achieve the clean environment of the future.
Radical is the new sensible when it comes to looking after our lungs and our planet. J
Just as we must invest in public health to prevent illness, so to must we stop pollution at its source. Because this is about every breath we take.
By Annabel Mullin
Party Leader, Renew UK