You are right to say that poor air quality affects us all. Tackling head on the biggest environmental threat to our health is a major priority for me as your MP and this Government.
The Environment Bill which received its first reading on 30th January 2020 will legislate a practice to reduce air pollution. Coupled with the Government’s ‘Clean Air Strategy’, there is now a real effort to reduce pollution and save lives. It will create an effective framework, closely aligned with WHO particulate guidelines, for local councils to implement effective strategies to reduce air pollution across the country, including in Newbury and for the first time there will be statutory obligations around air quality and a 'polluter pays' principle. I hope that, like me, you will be encouraged by the praise the initiative received from the WHO when it described the UK ‘as an example for the rest of the world’.
In the Newbury constituency, West Berkshire Council is working closely with neighbours to monitor and tackle air pollution. By engaging with local communities, the Council hopes to inform people of changes and the small ways they can make a difference, as well as take steps to reduce emissions in more densely populated areas. The Council’s work has been supported by a £500million commitment from the Government to support local authority initiatives. Furthermore, the Clean Air Zone Framework seeks to support individuals and businesses in our transition to become a low-carbon economy.
The Environment Bill is one of the most ambitious pieces of legislation of its kind in Europe. I am proud to say that the United Kingdom is leading the way in clearing up our air and this will have a real positive impact on places like Newbury. I will continue to follow all debates and developments closely as this is a topic important to both me and my constituents.