Latest on the Air Quality Plan

Latest news on our campaign to make sure everyone, everywhere has safe air to breathe.

26 July 2017

The government's plans to clean up our dirty air are simply not good enough.

Its much anticipated Air Quality Plan has now been published. But it doesn’t do enough to tackle toxic air pollution and save lives now.

What’s wrong with the plan?

There’s a big announcement – banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 – but this isn’t a plan to end illegal air pollution now, or even anytime soon.

It’s a cynical move designed to grab headlines. Everyone knows what’s needed to give us breathable air:

  • Clean Air Zones areas in which the most polluting vehicles are charged to enter.
  • A diesel scrappage scheme to help drivers switch away from the most polluting vehicles.
  • A levy on the manufacturers who cheated emissions tests to pay for it.

Instead of this the government is passing the buck to local authorities. And as a result people will continue to have their lives cut short because of air pollution.

By relying on attention-grabbing headlines and announcing changes for 23 years’ time the government has shown it isn't serious about taking meaningful action now.

But with air pollution such a hot topic it’s not the end of the road. With your help we can continue the campaign for clean air everywhere.

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What is an Air Quality Plan?

Most areas of the UK are breaching EU legal limits for deadly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - limits that should originally have been met in 2010.

The government has been repeatedly ordered by the High Court to publish an Air Quality Plan to clean up the country’s NO2 pollution.

The last 2 plans have been ruled inadequate by the courts. The final plan was published on 26 July 2017.

Why is this important?

40,000 premature deaths are linked to air pollution in the UK each year.

Dirty air leads to worsening asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer, and can lead to children growing up with smaller lungs.

Every delay in action costs lives.

How do the draft Air Quality Plans shape up?

What should be done

Friends of the Earth set out a plan for clean air everywhere outlining how the government could end toxic air pollution for good.

This includes:

  • A plan to end illegal air pollution in 2018
  • A diesel scrappage scheme to help people shift to clean vehicles
  • Changes to road tax to deter diesel use
  • A comprehensive network of plug-in points for electric vehicles by 2025
  • Huge investment in public transport, walking and cycling routes
  • A new Clean Air Act for the whole country to curb all types of air pollution

Unfortunately our government hasn’t passed the test.

What can you do?

  • Share the message - we need to spread the word that everyone, everywhere has the right to breathe clean air.
  • Sign the pledge to ditch diesel
  • Order a Clean Air Kit and measure the air pollution where you are  

Read our critique of the draft Air Quality Plan, published on 5 May.