Ruth Jones MP for Newport West calls on the UK Government for action to get a grip of illegal levels of air pollution in England as shadow Minister for air quality.
In response to last week’s prevention of future deaths report into the devastating death of Ella Kissi-Debrah in 2013, the first person in the UK to have air pollution on her death certificate, Ruth Jones MP for Newport West called out the UK Government for not writing the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for air pollution into the Environment Bill.
In the chamber last Thursday, Mrs Jones asked the Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Rebecca Pow MP for Taunton Dean, “when will the Minister commit to a PM2.5 target being set at least in line with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines?” in action to get a grip on the illegal levels of air pollution in England.
In the run-up to the return of the Environment Bill which has been ‘missing in-action’ and delayed for the third time by the UK Government, Labour’s Shadow DEFRA team put forward amendments that would have strengthened the ‘once in a generation’ Environment Bill but Conservative Ministers voted these down.
Ruth Jones: “The UK Government is not doing enough to tackle air pollution in England. Air pollution is a public health issue and a poverty issue, with our poorest communities hardest hit. Conservative inaction on air quality has led to air pollution reaching illegal levels. Labour-led councils have been taking action, but we need to go further. That’s why the UK Labour Party is calling for a Clean Air Act, following Wales, to make sure we all have clean safe air to breathe.”
In Wales, air quality is devolved to the Welsh Government. There is a Clean Air Plan for Wales already in motion, which was recognised by Sir Keir Starmer in his tribute to the Welsh Labour Government which kicked off the UK Labour’s Clean Air Summit last month of which Mrs Jones hosted, “the Welsh Labour Government in Wales is leading the way, they’re showing the Government in Westminster how it should be done.”