Live Air Pollution Question House of Commons


Live Air Pollution Question

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his view that we want to live in a

country where women always have a

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place to go where they need it.

Urgent question, Neil Parish. Thank

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you. The question is to ask the

Secretary of State for environment,

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food and rural affairs what steps

his department will be taking to

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improve air quality after the High

Court ruling?

In July last year, we

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publish the UK plan. Yesterday, the

High Court handed down judgment on

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the challenge to that plan. The

judge dismissed two out of three

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complaints. He found there was no

error in the government approach to

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tackle concentration levels. The

National air quality and monitoring

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underpin the plan fulfil

requirements. Birmingham,

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Nottingham, Derby, Southampton and

Leeds were identified. The judge

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found that measures taken were

sensible unlawful. We previously

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considered it was appropriate to

take a pragmatic approach. I have

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written to councils in November. It

was followed up by officials asking

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councils to provide initial

information on the action undertaken

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by 28 February. In view of the court

judgment, were happy to take a more

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formal approach with them. I have

written to local authorities, asking

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them to attend a meeting on 28

February to discuss the information

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in their plans and whether there are

additional actions they can take. In

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March, we will issue legally binding

directives. We will publish a

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supplement of the 2017 plan by

October, drawing on the outcomes of

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authorities' feasibility studies and

plans. This government is committed

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absolutely to improving air quality

and we have pledged to be the first

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generation to leave the environment

in a better state than we inherited

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it. Later this year, we will publish

a comprehensive strategy setting out

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strategies for tackling pollution

more broadly.

I believe you are

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working hard to improve air quality

and this is not just about

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legislation, it's about practical

actions to improve air quality. Are

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you as minister getting enough

cooperation from other departments,

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including money from Treasury, to

address this issue? Pollution costs

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£16 billion per year and affects

People's lives. Does the Minister

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agree that preventative action be

more cost-effective? Is the High

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Court found the timetable was

sensible and rational, but not

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enough leadership is being provided

regarding local authorities with

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high air pollution levels. Does the

Minister agree with me that a new

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clean air act would provide proper

leadership, whilst allowing local

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authorities will autonomy to address

pollution levels they face at a

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targeted local level. Past I welcome

that the government can be held to

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account through the courts and in to

Parliament, does the Minister agree

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with me that the judgment is to

focus on compliance? We need a more

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detailed, wide-ranging and practical

air quality plan. Clean air should

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be right, not a privilege. I believe

we need to hear much more from

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government now, and speed up the

whole of our air.

It is important to

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remember what we have achieved. To

remind the House, air pollution has

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improved since 2010. Sulphur dioxide

emissions are down 60%. Volatile

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organic compound emissions are down

by 9%. With investing to improve air

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quality. We're investing £1 billion

in low emission vehicles. We have

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set aside nearly half £1 billion to

help local authorities implement and

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develop local air quality plans. We

continue to try and reduce emissions

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in other ways. I will remind my

honourable friend that we intend to

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end the sale of all new conventional

petrol cars and vans by 2040. He

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knows we will be bringing forward a

conference of clear the strategy, in

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particular I am absolutely focused

on domestic burning. We looking

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forward to more responses regarding

wet wood and smoky coal. I agree

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with him on particulate matter

preventative is useful stop councils

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and government already have a lot of

powers, it is about being prepared

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to make at times very difficult

decisions. That's why are urged the

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leaders of the councils, including

the 122 yesterday, to really correct

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this issue on behalf of the people

they represent and we represent. It

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matters that we take direct local

action to ensure the future health

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of our nation.

I am keen we make

timely progress.

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We need succinct questions and

replies.

I've heard the response

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from the Minister but the rally she

is yesterday the government plans

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were ruled unlawful for the third

time in three years. Here we find

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ourselves once again having to take

the government to court in order for

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them to take any action on this

serious issue of public health. When

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or air pollution is responsible for

around 40,000 premature deaths each

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year with cardiovascular disease

accounting for 80% of all such

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premature deaths. Research by the

British Heart Foundation found that

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there are over 20 billion in

economic costs every year. Legal

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limits were set out in an EU

directive from 2008. It poses the

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question whether this Conservative

government can be trusted with our

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environment. We are witnessing

ducking and diving. As the DEFRA

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select committee has previously

stated, the situation has escalated

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into a public health emergency. The

government attitude does not seem to

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reflect the severity and urgency of

the situation. Yesterday, a press

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statement appeared to try to spin

the court ruling is some sort of win

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for the government and played on

responsibility for what is an

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incredibly serious failure.

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Difficult all the government that

provides the environment but do not

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demonstrate action when it comes.

Given the matter has been taken out

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of the government's hands in an

unprecedented step, does the

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Minister recognise the chronic

failure of her department on this

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issue? Will the Minister confirm

whether government plans to appeal

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the latest ruling by the court and I

understand the leaders of local

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authorities affected have been

invited to a workshop. Can the

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Minister underlined what the purpose

of it will be and what support they

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will be for cash-strapped local

authorities in delivering the

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actions we now need to see?

As I

said to this House before and say

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again today, I'd take this issue

seriously. I'm not surprised at the

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Lady fails to mention it was the

Welsh Labour government in the

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judicial review, the government

admitted the air plan to do not

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satisfy legal requirements. Frankly,

the issue is not confined to the

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Minister at the dispatch box today.

Present problems in the UK are

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frankly a result of what happened

with the EU's failed emissions

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testing regime. The irresponsible

actions of certain car manufacturers

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and the rapid increase of diesel car

manufacturers since 2001, 21 other

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EU member states are also breaching

air quality limits. I try not to

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take a partisan approach on this but

I am fed up of the opposition simply

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not accepting their part of the

responsibility. The last Labour

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government incentivised diesel cars,

and I'm not saying that previous

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Labour ministers didn't do things in

good faith. However as we have found

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out through a Freedom of information

request, Labour ignored advice

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diesel fumes were toxic. But they

pushed on on the basis of a lower

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CO2 emissions. In response to the

other points, we do not intend to

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appeal because the judgment stands

on a narrow issue where there are

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areas with shorter term exceeding

these. We also asked them to do

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that, we are now happy to now issue

legally binding directions that they

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need is to take action on and we

will work with them, which is why

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next week after asking them to

provide initial information and

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plans and why we ask them to come to

London next week so we can go

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through that in detail and talk

through the kinds of resources they

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will need to ensure better air

quality for the citizens we all

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represent.

Mr Speaker, good might

friend go back to colleagues across

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governments to impress upon them

this is not only an issue of

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fundamental social justice for

poorer citizens but about putting

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the UK in a strong position in terms

of our economy because clean-air is

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a business advantage and we don't

want to fall behind them

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Netherlands, Norway and Scotland who

are looking to ban diesel petrol

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cars. Let's make sure that England

is in the forefront, socially just

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and globally competitive on this

issue.

My friend will be aware that

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government is working together to

improve the air quality we have. He

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will recognise their pollution has

improved significantly since 2010,

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why we are working with local

authorities to provide solutions.

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Mentioning Scotland, the Scottish

Government are working on aspects of

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introducing a lower emission zone.

The situation in Glasgow there is

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serious and I'm sure the Scottish

Government with the support of SNP

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MPs will make sure to have effective

solutions.

Three High Court cases

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lost, how critical does this

situation needs to get for the

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government to act? I appreciate the

Minister's words, all local

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authorities now have action plans

and we have set more stringent air

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quality targets than the rest of the

UK and are the first country in

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Europe to legislate for this.

Perhaps I can help her out and meet

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her because she knows the work I

have been doing with the aviation

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noise authority and making sure it's

independent. I wonder whether she

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will consider pollution is taken

into consideration and part of the

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remit, I have set up a authority in

our constituency to make sure

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airlines follow guidelines. Will she

ensure the aviation authority is

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truly independent and monitoring of

pollution is also within its re-met?

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She now has the opportunity to

breathe.

We all have the opportunity

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to breathe clean air here thanks to

the excellent work of the House.

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Talking about the aviation of the

ready, I'm not the transport

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Minister, but no doubt we will

continue to want to reduce emissions

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from aviation and that's why we are

working with other countries who

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have already instigated some

elements on that. Regarding

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Scotland, she'll be aware I think of

the Glasgow area were at the moment,

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compliance is with the legal limits

is not predicted until 2026. The

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money we invest in England have

consequences for the Barnett

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Formula, that will help Scotland

achieve her targets. I will ask her

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to perhaps contact the transport

ministers to discuss the other

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matters she was deliberating on.

Can

I well, my friends proactively work

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on air quality, including in Dudley?

And urge her to work closely with

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the local authorities to ensure that

our air is clean and safe.

I thank

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him for that, Dudley is one of the

areas named. I've already been in

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conversation with Andy Street, the

mayor for the West Midlands, very

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ambitious on plans to make these

improvements and I look forward to

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meeting the leader for Dudley

Council next week.

If the UK leaves

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the EU, the commission and ECJ lose

their role in monitoring and

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enforcing these are pollution

standards. In November, the

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Environment Secretary told my

committee he would consult on a new

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body to feel about governance gap

early in the New Year. When will we

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see that consultation? Will the body

be in place before exit state and

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will it have higher environmental

standards which is what the

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secretary says he wants, lower

standards which is what the Brexit

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Brigade once, awful regularly --

awful regular treat alignment with

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the EU?

The House already passed

this. We've already put in place

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legislation why is the targets for

2020 and 2030 on the pollutants.

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This government has already acted

labour legislation and I'm pleased

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it has been endorsed. The

consultation will be forthcoming

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soon, I am conscious that people who

are eager to see this in the

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meantime will not be relying on the

B EU to help with air quality. She

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will be aware of many measures

including the new bypass in her

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constituency which officials believe

will be the solution to improving

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air quality for the people of

Wakefield. The ASICs corridor in my

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constituency is amongst one of the

most congested and polluted roads in

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the country -- the A six.

What

conversation has the Minister had to

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alleviate congestion and improve

air-quality?

The department has been

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active and the government has one of

the largest transport investment

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programmes for many decades. I'm not

particularly aware of the road to

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which he refers but I'm confident

the Department for Transport will

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be. One of the things we have done

with the clean air fund is to make

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sure air-quality is a key criteria

in assessing our fancies in the

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future.

In Greater Manchester like

in other areas, the real issue in

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terms of nitrogen oxides is heavy

goods vehicles and old buses. We

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have to begin to think about a bus

scrappage scheme, how will the

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Minister respond?

The good news is

we'd already invested £89 million in

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helping authorities to convert their

buses, another 40 million was added.

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When I went to visit the councillors

involved in Manchester some time

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ago, they will use the powers,

they've indicated they are likely to

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use them under the act to make sure

they can do them on scheduling.

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Requiring the buses to be Euro six

compliant, which is why we have been

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funding councils around the country

to make that transition.

By how much

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will air pollution be cut with the

ban on the sale of petrol and diesel

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vehicles by 2040?

The expectation of

the targets we have legislated for

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is that the impacts of air pollution

will be halved by 2030. One of the

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reasons for indicating we will end

the sale of conventional petrol

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diesel cars by that date is to give

a strong message to manufacturers.

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We have seen a response already by

the fact a number of manufacturers

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are saying they. The production of

such cars by the end of this decade.

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Good news not only for the people of

the UK but across Europe and the

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wider world.

Mr Speaker, for the

last seven years, the UK has been in

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breach of EU limits on toxic

pollutants are links to respiratory

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and cardiovascular conditions, as

well as stunted lung growth in young

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children. It's no use telling the

parents of a seven-year-old that

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things will improve by 2030, so can

we see greater urgency, more

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resources and action now, and

holding up their hands and admitting

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when they've got it wrong?

She will

be talking to Lesley Griffiths in

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other Welsh Labour government

because of the Welsh government,

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it's a vault issue. They contributed

part of the 2017 air-quality plan

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which they recognised a few months

later wasn't good enough and are

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going to do more -- it's a vault

issue. That is why at national

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level, we are taking measures, in

terms of fleets turnover and

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incentives about moving to the

cleanest diesel possible for those

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who still wants to use those cars in

the interim. Also measures like

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company car taxation increases. We

are taking matters but it is not the

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usual practice that the UK

Government will order the Welsh

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government to do something that is

devolved. I'm sure she will work

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with her colleagues in Cardiff to

make sure her citizens are better

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represented when it comes to making

the case for air-quality with the

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Welsh government.

Older vehicles are

the most polluting and tend to be

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owned by SMEs or people on low

incomes. Well my friend look at the

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potential for a vehicle scrappage

scheme, not just buses but also cars

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and lorries, so we had actually get

the worst polluting vehicles off the

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road quicker?

In regards to the

air-quality plan, we issued a

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consultation on mitigation measures

and potential scrappage scheme is

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part of that. We are considering

responses to that and will report

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back to the House shortly.

Yesterday, I sat here listening to

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the Prime Minister 's response to my

question. I was very surprised at

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the gap between the briefing the

Prime Minister has been given from

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death row, albeit at short notice --

from DEFRA. And what I was reading

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from the newsfeeds. Will the

Minister apologised to me and to the

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House for the briefing to the prime

ministers that implies the judgment

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was more winners than losers when it

is quite clear that the government

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has been found to be acting

unlawfully and so badly, that the

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court is taking over DEFRA's role in

implementing the legislation?

I'm

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afraid she is simply incorrect, the

judge dismissed challenges about our

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approach to air-quality. He said the

approach we took, when writing to

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councils will ask November when

asking for issue is how we can help

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to improve air quality in those

local authorities, the judge said

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urging an encouraging wasn't

sufficient and we should issue

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legally binding directions. That is

what the Prime Minister reflected to

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the House yesterday and what we'll

be doing. I encourage her to work

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with the Mayor of London, already

with substantial funding and is

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using it in order to start deploying

cleaner buses and other aspects of

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the shift within London. Frankly he

needs to accelerate his programme

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and I encourage her to work with him

in doing that, building on the plans

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by my friend, the Right Honourable

member for Uxbridge.

Can I welcome

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the energy and resources which the

government is applying to these

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issue, particularly the clean bus

fund which will see a fleet of

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electric vehicles serving Harrogate

and Knaresborough. Can I ask

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specifically that all local

authorities are as committed in

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solving this issue as she is? Not my

experience so far.

My friend was a

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Treasury Minister when working on

the air-quality plan and he is as

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committed to making these

improvements. I fully recognise some

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of these issues are politically

difficult. That is why I've been

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meeting councillors from those

authorities to say time cannot wait

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in order to have effective local

solutions. My friend made sure that

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we have finances from government in

order to tackle this issue. Those

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finances will be deployed.

A Liberal

Democrat competition! Layla Moran.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. I'm grateful

for the ministers offered to meet

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with me to discuss her plan for

Oxford.

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Coogee confirm there is extra money?

I know they have been trying

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already. -- could see confirm.

I

have written to all MPs yesterday

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affected by the legal ruling, to

make what we were doing already

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legally binding on councils to

cooperate. I'm looking forward to

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meeting the leader next week.

They're looking at certain proposals

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which include widening

pedestrianisation in the city

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centre, in order to tackle

challenges. I want to know what kind

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of resources they may need. I think

we have the powers already. It could

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be that we just need to work through

the details of the plan.

Would my

0:23:250:23:30

right honourable friend give us more

detail about the government is doing

0:23:300:23:35

to support renewable technology in

order to secure the future of clean

0:23:350:23:38

energy in the UK?

In addition to the

£3.5 billion we're investing to

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tackle air-quality on a modal shift

in transport, were massively

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increasing incentives for councils

to deploy the kind of infrastructure

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needed to support growth in the use

of electric vehicles. There is about

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£1 billion allocated in grants for

people who want to buy such

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vehicles. Were legislating through

Parliament at the moment on the

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requirement that in future we will

have fuel stations that will also

0:24:140:24:19

provide electric infrastructure so

that people can charge their cars,

0:24:190:24:22

not just fill them with petrol and

diesel.

As chair of my party's

0:24:220:24:34

backbench DEFRA committee, this is

not good enough. This is a national

0:24:340:24:38

health emergency. Recent estimates

show that a million people could die

0:24:380:24:46

by 2040. She must act now with

manufacturers, local authorities and

0:24:460:24:50

everyone else.

I welcome the support

from the Member for Huddersfield to

0:24:500:25:01

get local authorities working on

this. We have been in

0:25:010:25:03

correspondence, we have recently

funded 350 buses in the west

0:25:030:25:12

Yorkshire combined authority.

Clearly there is an opportunity for

0:25:120:25:14

new busses to be deployed in the

worst traffic hotspots. I look

0:25:140:25:21

forward to meeting the leaders of

local authorities next week.

Me I

0:25:210:25:29

thank the Minister for meeting with

me a couple of weeks ago, to discuss

0:25:290:25:35

specific health issues. I agree

local leadership is needed. My

0:25:350:25:38

question today is she has mentioned

the new legislation. I think it is

0:25:380:25:45

not going far enough and so I ask

again, while the Minister consider

0:25:450:25:49

introducing legislation for

supermarkets and public car parks to

0:25:490:25:59

provide electric charging points?

I

had a constructive meeting with the

0:25:590:26:05

honourable lady recently. I visited

the town of Bath last year. I take

0:26:050:26:13

on board her point and I will

discuss it with the Minister of

0:26:130:26:19

transport.

Oxford was excluded from

the list because only 3% of

0:26:190:26:25

monitoring sites were included. Does

the government now accept that

0:26:250:26:29

decision was wrong? As the first

British city to commit to a zero

0:26:290:26:38

emission zone, will ye really need

the powers of resources she

0:26:380:26:42

mentioned.

The powers were granted

years ago. Building of what she

0:26:420:26:49

said, the judge yesterday upheld the

fact that our modelling fulfilled

0:26:490:26:53

our legal requirements. Local air

monitoring does not comply with

0:26:530:26:59

legislation under which we are bound

to do that. But I'm pleased that

0:26:590:27:04

Oxford are considering wider

pedestrianisation in their city

0:27:040:27:08

centre and look forward to

discussing that in more detail next

0:27:080:27:10

week. Have had the powers already,

they can get on with this and I

0:27:100:27:14

encourage them to do so as quickly

as possible.

Are some grateful to

0:27:140:27:20

the Minister further funding she is

given to cash-strapped local

0:27:200:27:26

authorities like Bristol for

consultation, I would like to move

0:27:260:27:28

further and think of the children at

school and one of the worst

0:27:280:27:31

polluting areas in the centre of

Bristol. Will see consider now

0:27:310:27:37

urgently a scrappage scheme for cars

and other vehicles such as taxis and

0:27:370:27:41

buses?

I have met the honourable

lady on this issue of air-quality

0:27:410:27:46

before. I have had direct

discussions with Bristol City

0:27:460:27:52

Council. Funding has gone in to help

the take-up of electric vehicles and

0:27:520:27:57

busses. I would suggest that Bristol

was making good progress, they are

0:27:570:28:07

one of the councils we mandated last

year to come forward with action.

0:28:070:28:12

They are on track with process. I

look forward to receiving final

0:28:120:28:18

considerations from them later this

year.

After eight years of court

0:28:180:28:26

cases, I find the Minister's

minimalistic approach quite

0:28:260:28:28

staggering. Why are the government

investing in a new generation of

0:28:280:28:35

dirty diesel trains?

As my

honourable friend, the real

0:28:350:28:44

minister, said, we are also going to

end the use of diesel only trains by

0:28:440:28:49

2040. That's given a clear steer to

procure a sand operators, on the

0:28:490:28:55

basis that they tend to invest in 15

years cycles. I'm conscious our

0:28:550:29:03

electrification programme was

considerably higher. I seem to

0:29:030:29:06

recall that in the Labour government

between 1997 and 2010, the achieved

0:29:060:29:11

13 miles. For them to be lecturing

us today about these issues... We

0:29:110:29:19

have been investing to fix the

problems they left behind.

Three

0:29:190:29:26

years after the story broke, how is

the government holding Volkswagen to

0:29:260:29:33

account for its emissions scandal?

We are holding Volkswagen to

0:29:330:29:39

account. I would suggest to the

honourable gentleman that one of the

0:29:390:29:43

challenges of how the EU operates in

this regard is it as a matter for

0:29:430:29:47

the German government to be the

regulator of Volkswagen and through

0:29:470:29:52

the European Commission is how we

hold Volkswagen to account directly.

0:29:520:29:58

I'm pleased they have come forward

with their wider group to do some of

0:29:580:30:01

the retrofitting of vehicles in

terms of software updates to correct

0:30:010:30:06

what we did. Frankly, the behaviour

by Volkswagen and their chief

0:30:060:30:14

executives was a disgrace. The money

they used to fund the effects of

0:30:140:30:18

diesel fumes on primates and humans

is

0:30:180:30:22

Live coverage of an urgent question on air pollution.


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