People, Environment

Britain’s Air Pollution Plan Draws Ire of Campaigners

Britain’s Air Pollution Plan Draws Ire of CampaignersBritain’s Air Pollution Plan Draws Ire of Campaigners

The British government published long-awaited plans to tackle air pollution on Friday, but campaigners criticized them as inadequate to tackle a growing public health concern.

Measures include a targeted scrappage scheme to persuade motorists to trade in their diesel cars, which have been blamed for high levels of nitrogen dioxide near roads, Physorg reported.

Local authorities would be expected to set up “clean air zones” in the worst pollution hotspots where nitrogen dioxide levels have repeatedly breached legal levels.

The plan says charging the dirtiest vehicles to enter these areas is the most effective way to improve air quality.

However, it also warns this should be a last resort, saying that motorists encouraged by previous governments to buy diesel engines—on the basis that they produced less carbon dioxide—should not be unfairly punished.

Other plans include removing road humps to improve the flow of traffic, encouraging more electric cars and fitting new, cleaner engines to public buses and lorry fleets.

UK’s Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the plan offered a “commonsense way forward”.

However, Doug Parr, chief scientist for campaign group Greenpeace UK, said it was a “hodge-podge of vague proposals” that offered little to victims of toxic air pollution, or drivers.

“The astonishing thing is that the government’s own plan accepts that diesel is at the root of the problem, and that phasing it out is the most effective solution,” he said.

“Yet the plan offers no real action to end the era of dodgy diesel.”

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said the government is standing idly by while Britain chokes.

“This feeble plan won’t go anywhere near far enough in tackling this public health emergency,” she said.

More than 40,000 British deaths a year are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution.



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