Swansea MP Launches Clean Air bill

Geraint Davies targets vehicle emissions

Swansea West MP Geraint Davies will publish a Clean Air Bill today (April 19).

The Clean Air Bill publication will be launched at a parliamentary meeting with Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of GPs and UNICEF.
Mr Davies said: "The Clean Air Bill calls on the Government to provide fiscal incentives and scrappage schemes for drivers to switch to vehicles which produce fewer (or ideally, zero) emissions.

"It provides for a national electric and hydrogen refueling network and gives local authorities a responsibility to measure and publicise pollution levels, in particular close to vulnerable groups like children and the elderly. 
"Councils will have powers to restrict access or introduce pollution charges if communities so wish based on local evidence.  
"New powers are proposed to combat diesel pollution belching into local communities from idling ships in port by requiring a switch to port-provided electric power. The Bill also addresses freight transport, pollution at airports and cheat-devices installed on cars. Overall, the Bill aims to make our right to clean air a reality."
Across the UK more than 40,000 people die prematurely from diesel pollution at a cost of £20 billion each year according to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics 2016 report. 
Fifty per cent of new cars are now diesel with each car producing many times more fumes than laboratory tests had previously indicated.

The Royal Colleges' report finds that babies and children are particularly at risk. Foetuses in pregnant women exposed to air pollution are more likely to suffer affects to their lungs, heart and neurological development. Children in "clean air zones" have a ten per cent reduced lung capacity and have more respiratory problems, together with effects on their nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. This leads to physical and mental health problems in later life. 
Mr Davies said: "The Government has compelling evidence to act now but instead fears the back-lash of diesel drivers who bought their cars in good faith and are still encouraged to do so by lower vehicle tax rates. 
"The public health risks of diesel particulates have been well known since Margaret Thatcher. However, the impact of nitrogen oxides and the scale of underestimated pollution from lab tests compounded by the sheer volume of cars has now become a public health catastrophe. That's why the demand for a new Clean Air Act grows. 
"Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has demanded that the Government produces a Clean Air Strategy, to fulfill our EU air quality obligations, and on Wednesday I publish my Clean Air Bill to give shape and ambition to the Government's plan.
"Reluctant moves to reach minimum standards are not enough. Instead, Britain needs to take bold leadership. We already know that four capital cities - Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City - have plans to remove diesel vehicles by 2025 and that the markets are investing in zero-emissions futures. Tesla founded in 2003 produces just 76,000 electric cars and is valued at $49 billion - $3 billion more than Ford, founded a century earlier who produce 6.6 million vehicles.
"The Clean Air Bill is a route-map to reach World Health Organisation air quality standards by tackling emissions in our cities, ports and airports. It provides the signals and incentives for consumers and producers to change their behaviour to do so."


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