Boris Johnson promises new law to clean up the environment by targeting air pollution in his first Queen’s Speech as Prime Minister
- The Environment Bill will be a successor to the 1956 Clean Air Act
- He said the Government was determined to ‘improve the quality of the air’
- The bill also aim to cut plastic, restore biodiversity and improve water quality
Boris Johnson has confirmed his first Queen’s Speech as Prime Minister will commit the Government to legally binding targets to reduce air pollution.
Mr Johnson said the Environment Bill – to be announced on Monday – would be a successor to the 1956 Clean Air Act passed in response to London’s Great Smog.
He said the Government was determined to ‘improve our environment and the quality of the air we breathe’ and ‘leave our country in a better state than we found it’.
Boris Johnson has confirmed his first Queen’s Speech as Prime Minister will commit the Government to legally binding targets to reduce air pollution
He told The Times: ‘This landmark legislation will set a framework of far-reaching, legally binding targets to reduce plastics, restore biodiversity, improve the quality of our water and clean up our air.’
The inclusion of the bill in the Queen’s Speech – setting out the Government’s legislative programme – was widely expected after Theresa May’s government laid the ground with a draft bill published last December.
As many as 2.6million children go to school in areas where the level of fine particles in the air exceeds the limit imposed by the World Health Organisation.
The Environment Bill – to be announced on Monday – would be a successor to the 1956 Clean Air Act passed in response to London’s Great Smog
Analysis of newly-released data shows that pollution along the A5 and the A3 gets worse from the outskirts of London towards the centre of the city
Every school in London is above the threshold as well as 234 schools in Birmingham.
It comes as it was recently revealed that Londoners including some who live in the most exclusive boroughs are breathing in dangerous levels of pollution.
Postcode-level data from scientists at Kings College London showing the level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the capital’s atmosphere has been made available to the public via a new website.
It shows large swathes of London including Southwark and Wembley – as well as posh streets in expensive Chelsea and Regent’s Park – suffer from pollution which greatly exceeds the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit of 40microgrammes of NO2 per cubic metre of air.
In SE1 in Southwark, London’s most polluted postcode, levels of nitrogen dioxide are two-and-a-half times the WHO recommended limit of 40mg per m3, at 102.05, while in in the TN14 postcode – villages near Sevenoaks just outside the M25 – levels are only around 25mg per m3
Most polluted areas
1. Southwark SE1
2. Wembley NW10
3. Camden NW1
4. Slough SL0
5. Leamouth E14
Least polluted areas
1. Sevenoaks TN14
2. Biggin Hill TN16
3. Upminster RM14
4. Oxted RH8
5. Sevenoaks TN13
NO2 is emitted by vehicle exhausts, factories and power plants and is now considered the cause of more deaths and health problems than smoking. It has been linked to dementia, infertility, slow childhood development, autism, obesity, miscarriage, depression, psychosis and decreased life expectancy.
The Prime Minister’s new bill is expected to target fine particles known as PM2.5.
The particles have a diameter of one four-hundredth-of-a-millimetre or less — approximately 30 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.
But they can penetrate deep into the lungs, and have been implicated in exacerbating lung and cardiovascular diseases.
According to the European Environment Agency, PM2.5s are responsible for 37,800 premature deaths in Britain a year.
The single biggest source for these particles is wood-burning.