Wera's Channel 4 segment. Our air quality is a national crisis...
Across the UK, towns and cities are currently experiencing a hidden public health disaster. It impacts the health of millions of people, from young to old, and each year thousands of people’s lives are cut short because of it.
Whilst the air quality in London does make the headlines, poor air quality affects many areas across the country, often breaching the legal limits. The UK is seeing a massive rise in asthma and lung disease linked to air pollution. It's also connected to diabetes and heart disease. It impacts children in the womb and hinders the lungs of children at school.
The government should tackle this crisis but the Tories have ducked their responsibility, dumping the problem on cash strapped local authorities. This response has been lacklustre and unambitious, while people continue to suffer with toxic air.
The Govt announced a total ban on diesel and petrol cars in 2040, that simply is too far away.
Meanwhile they are slashing subsidies for electric vehicles at the very time we need them!
Liberal Democrats demand better. We need ambitious targets to clean up our air and tackle this growing public health crisis.
So, what should be done?
Liberal Democrats want the government to bring forward the ban on diesel and petrol cars to 2030, or even 2025. The car industry has the ability to innovate and drive forward green technology, but it needs to be given meaningful targets to make this happen quicker.
And there is more – Liberal Democrats would write into law the right for people to breathe clean air. We will look to promote cleaner forms of transport such as trams, to help cut pollution. We will give drivers more information about the cars they are buying, with cheaper car tax for low emission vehicles.
The government must invest in charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and reverse the damaging cuts to subsidies for electric vehicles. It should also slash VAT on electric and hydrogen vehicles too.
But looking at cars is just one side of the coin. The Tories are also failing to invest in public transport too.
Trains suffered from the timetable disasters earlier this year, and the government failed to deliver the promised electrification to cities like Bath. Cuts to local authority budgets have decimated local bus services, particularly affecting school buses and rural routes. The Tories also haven’t committed to retrofitting old polluting buses on a large scale.
Where possible public transport should be moving to electric or hydrogen power. We should also look to assist cities with introducing green mass transport systems like trams.
Air Quality is hidden killer, and although the Government knows this, it doesn’t seem to care. We must demand better.
That’s why the Liberal Democrats are campaigning to make the Tories take the problem seriously.
If they don’t millions more people will suffer, and thousands will die.
The solution is simple, but it needs the Liberal Democrats to make it happen.