It’s time to ditch diesel, says Friends of the Earth

Date published: 18 October 2016

The government must phase out diesel to reduce deaths from air pollution says Friends of the Earth, as the government is due back in court on 18 October to face claims that it has failed to put adequate plans in place to tackle the UK’s illegally dirty air.

In April 2015 the government was ordered by the UK Supreme Court to take immediate action to clean up the UK’s air, following a court case brought by legal campaign group ClientEarth.

The government’s plans to deal with the UK’s Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution problem, which should have meant our air was brought within EU legal limits in the “shortest time possible”, are considered so feeble, that they are now being taken back to court.

Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: “Air pollution is a public health crisis, leading to 40,000 early deaths each year in the UK.

“Too many children are growing up breathing illegally dirty air, which can lead to impaired lung development for life.

“We know road traffic is the biggest problem for air pollution in Greater Manchester and diesel is the worst of all. There are nearly 2000 early deaths each year in Greater Manchester from air pollution. This is why the government must be bold and put in place a plan to phase out diesel from our roads, if it is serious about cleaning up the air we breathe.

Pete Abel added: “The government shouldn’t have to be taken all the way to court, again, just to make sure we can all breathe clean air.

“Post-Brexit it is vital that the UK enshrines in law EU legal limits for air pollution, and moves towards complying with World Health Organisation recommended levels in order to save lives.”

Manchester Friends of the Earth supports calls for a new Clean Air Act, and is calling for Clean Air Zones in all our cities and major towns, not just the five beyond London the government’s plans would support, more action to cut traffic levels and offer people alternatives to driving, along with the complete phase out of diesel vehicles.

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