Over 33 million people across England lived in areas breaching pollution limits in 2016
New Labour analysis of air quality breaches has shown the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution across England and the number of Local Authorities across England which breached legal limits. The analysis reveals that
- Over 33 ½ million people across England lived in areas breaching legal air quality limits in 2016.
- This means that over 60 per cent of people in England lived in areas breaching limits
- 145 Local Authorities across England had pollution breaching legal limits.
- 44 per cent of Local Authorities across England had pollution breaching legal limits.
- Across England London had the greatest percentage and number of people living in areas breaching limits with 32 out of 33 London Boroughs breaching limits. Over 8 ½ million people in London lived in areas breaching legal limits.
- Outside of London; Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest percentage of people living in areas breaching limits (82 per cent, 4.4 million people), followed by the North West (76 per cent, 5.5 million people) and the West Midlands (65 per cent, 3.7 million people).
- The East of England has the lowest percentage of people living in areas breaching pollution limits (30%, 1.8 million people) with the East Midlands having the second lowest percentage (40%, 1.9 million people).
- Of those regions outside London the North East had the highest percentage of Local Authorities breaching limits (58%, 7 of 12), followed by Yorkshire and The Humber (57%, 12 of 21), the North West (56%, 22 of 39) and the West Midlands (46%, 14 of 30).
- The South West had the lowest percentage of Local Authorities breaching limits (24%, 9 of 37) followed by the East of England (25%, 12 of 47).
Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:
“The Tories have completely failed to tackle the problem of air pollution across the country.
“Despite losing repeatedly in the courts on this issue, hey continue to dodge responsibility, leaving millions of people living in areas of illegally high levels of pollution.
“Labour has promised a new Clear Air Act – including a network of clean air zones – to get a grip on the illegal levels of pollution across the country.”
As it stands there is no body which would enforce existing rules on air quality limits once the UK leaves the EU, a role currently filled by the European Commission. The Environment secretary has promised only to ‘consult’ on a new body.
The Government’s air quality plans were recently found to be unlawful for the third time in the domestic courts. This is fourth time that the Government has been defeated on matters relating to air quality in the UK courts.
Labour has promised to introduce a new Clean Air Act to tackle illegal levels of air pollution.