Friends of the Earth calls for a ‘clean air’ budget to end the UK’s toxic air
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth is calling on the Chancellor to make cleaning up the UK’s toxic air a priority when he announces the budget tomorrow (Wednesday 22 November).
Air pollution is responsible for over 40,000 early deaths* each year in the UK alone, with illegal levels of pollution in dozens of UK towns and cities across the country.
Friends of the Earth is calling for:
- A £1.2bn Clean Air Fund to finance effective Clean Air Zones, to get UK levels of air pollution down to legal levels by 2019
- Introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to help drivers who bought diesels in good faith switch to cleaner transport – in part funded by manufacturers
- Reverse the perverse VED diesel incentive and ensure revenue raised is ring-fenced for air quality measures
- Re-introduce the fuel duty escalator
- Spend VED and Fuel Duty income on transport options that would improve air quality and people’s health, not roads
- Invest in walking and cycling to the tune at least £20 per person
Oliver Hayes, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said:
“The chancellor should deliver a ‘clean air’ budget to rid our towns and cities of the scourge of modern air pollution.
“It’s outrageous that in 21st century Britain, there are children growing up with smaller lungs because of the filthy air they’re breathing.
“The government must finally put its money where its mouth is and fund the urgent action needed to clean up the nation’s air, including a series of Clean Air Zones in the most polluted areas.”
*In September 2018 the government's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) revised this figure to “up to 36,000 premature deaths a year”.