The English local authority has revealed called for minimum air quality standards to be met by 2030, a decade ahead of Downing Street’s aims.
Following the release of a new report by the National Audit Office that the British government is failing to deliver on its air quality standards, Hertfordshire Council wants to meet limits ten years ahead of Westminster’s target.
The announcement follows recently announced plans by UK policymakers to halve the legal limits for PM2.5, or particulate matter, by 2040, and the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ consultation on environmental targets, coordinated by UK100. Many local leaders believe more needs to needs to be done to reduce levels of PM2.5, and faster, with this pollutant proven to have a significant damaging impact on health and linked to millions of preventable deaths worldwide.
Hertfordshire Councillor Morris Bright, Executive Member for Public Health & Community Safety, has now signed a letter to government ministers asking them to bring forward PM2.5 targets to 2030. This falls in line with World Health Organisation’s (WHO) interim guidelines. Downing Street should also urgently address ‘limitations of local authority powers’ and introduce a national policy on sources of PM2.5.
The letter also asks for a longer term target to meet the overall WHO limits, which are half the interim level. And, finally, the document calls for a national public awareness campaign around the health impacts of air pollution and its causes, including wood burning.
‘I have signed this letter on behalf of the county council to demonstrate our commitment to cleaning up the air, and to ensure that we have the necessary support from Government to do so. Air pollution is one of the most significant challenges to public health and the environment that we face in Hertfordshire, and we want to work with the Government to deliver our Sustainable Hertfordshire ambition of cleaner air for all by 2030,’ said Cllr Morris Bright, Executive Member for Public Health & Community Safety.
Also in UK news, the Office for National Statistics has confirmed it will begin publishing emissions figures alongside GDP to give a truer reflection of the country’s prosperity.
Image credit: Nick Page