Tories ‘repeating Covid errors as thousands killed by air pollution’, MP warns
Tories have been accused of repeating deadly Covid mistakes by failing to tackle pollution which costs thousands of lives a year. Labour MP Karen Buck has called on the Government to plough more cash into helping drivers switch to greener cars. Public Health England estimates that up to 36,000 people die each year as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution.
And it believes that nearly GBP1.7 billion will be spent in seven years treating people for heart conditions, asthma, strokes, lung cancers and other conditions linked to poor air quality. Ms Buck said the Government is not doing enough to tackle the problem. She said: "The Government's reckless approach to public health during the pandemic meant thousands of Londoners died needlessly.
"The lesson is clear: inaction costs lives. Yet, despite millions breathing in poison every day, the Government is ignoring this public health emergency and Conservatives are trying to block every single measure to reduce air pollution.Divisive Tory Lee Anderson warned to stay 'impartial' ahead of elections on new TV showLabour's Karen Buck says the government is 'ignoring the public health emergency' (Tim Merry)
"The Government and the Tories must learn the lessons from the pandemic and put public health first." Ms Buck, who represents Westminster North in London, urged the government to back the controversial Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) extension in the capital, which will see drivers of high polluting vehicles charged GBP12.50 a day.
The measure, championed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan has sparked a backlash from motorists and businesses who will be hit by the extra charges. It has been hotly opposed by the Tories, but Ms Buck said the government risks being on "the wrong side of history" if it doesn't help drivers switch to cleaner vehicles. She said: "Tackling air pollution and the climate crisis is the defining issue of our time.Ms Buck called on the government to back the controversial ULEZ expansion in London (PA)
"It's vital the Government and politicians in London are not on the wrong side of history.
"When the health of millions is at stake again, we have a moral imperative to put principle before politics so that we can stay healthy, protect the NHS and save lives." A study presented to the London Assembly last month found that harmful emissions dropped by 26% in the ULEZ area, while harmful pollution levels were nearly half in its first year. Sarah Woolnough, chief executive at Asthma + Lung UK, said: "The devastating impact that air pollution can have on our lungs and lives should not be underestimated.
Toxic air stunts children's' lung growth, causes lung conditions and can trigger existing ones - that's why schemes like the ULEZ that meaningfully reduce air pollution are so needed."
Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Nickie Aiken said: "Everyone agrees we need to improve air quality, but Sadiq Khan's ULEZ extension plan has nothing to do with tackling pollution and everything to do with targeting the poorest Londoners.
"The Mayor should rethink his plans, put better options on the table to deal with pollution including investing in better public transport, improving his scrappage scheme and encouraging people out of their cars instead of taxing them out of them."
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- ^ Labour (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Divisive Tory Lee Anderson warned to stay 'impartial' ahead of elections on new TV show (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Sadiq Khan (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ NHS (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ study (www.london.gov.uk)
- ^ Conservative Party (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Home Secretary blasted for interior design joke over Rwanda migrant homes (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Government food tsar quits with blast at 'insane' Tory failure to tackle obesity (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Overworked NHS staff being driven to suicide with one life lost every three days (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Ministers expected to raise state pension age weeks after tax handout to super-rich (www.mirror.co.uk)
- ^ Drug barons 'duped former Tory Home Secretary with guns to get early release' (www.mirror.co.uk)