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Monday, 30th Sep 2019

Mayor misses third government deadline on Clean Air plan

Today Bristol City Council has missed the third deadline set by national government to submit a plan to clean up Bristol’s air. Green Mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven has called for immediate action. 

Research estimates that 300 people each year in Bristol die prematurely because of our dirty air, compared to just 12 in traffic accidents [1].

Sandy Hore-Ruthven said: “No deaths should happen in our city due to things we can change. It is not acceptable for Bristol to keep pushing back the issue of our air quality crisis. The Mayor continues to avoid decisions that actually improve our environment.  His actions fall well short of the rhetoric of his words.”

“The city has already fallen 1 year behind the likes of Birmingham, Leeds and Bath who are implementing action on air quality. Not only are these cities complying with the law but they understand the importance of public health for their citizens.”

“The Mayor’s lack of action also misses the benefits of implementing a Clean Air Zone. Improved health – especially for the poorest in the Inner city who are far more likely to suffer - must be prioritised. Implementing a Clean Air Zone can also generate income that could be invested in public transport, cycling and walking, giving people real choice in how they travel across the city. It is time for action, not just words,” he concluded.

Research has shown that air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. The annual health cost of the impacts of poor air quality in Bristol is estimated at £83m [2].

The threat of legal action to Bristol City Council comes from central government, who wrote to the Mayor in July giving a deadline of 30th September for the council to submit further plans on how it would bring the city into line with national legal limits by 2025. The letter, from Therese Coffey MP, Junior Minister for Air Quality in DEFRA stated: “I would like to make clear that any delay or non-compliance with the September and December deadlines will result in me being forced to consider legal action against Bristol City Council which may include issuing proceedings without further notice.” [3]

Greens have stated their intention to continue to monitor and call for immediate action to address the air quality crisis, including clear options to implement restrictions on private vehicles in the city centre.

ENDS

Notes:

[1] https://www.bristol.gov.uk/documents/20182/32675/Health+Impacts+of+Air+Pollution+in+Bristol+February+2017/4df2fce5-e2fc-4c22-b5c7-5e7a5ae56701

[2] https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/what-is-air-pollution/air-pollution-and-health/

[3] The letter, from Therese Coffey MP, Junior Minister forAir Quality in DEFRA, was written to Marvin Rees on 23rd July and can be found here.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/823849/air-quality-letter-bristol-city-council-20190723.pdf

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