Ministers target wood burners and farm machinery in new clean air plan
Ministers have announced a crackdown on wood burning stoves and diesel machinery in a bid to halve the number of people exposed to some of the worst air pollution by 2025.
New stoves will have to be cleaner, with the public encouraged to burn dry wood, while farmers will be helped to replace equipment through a new funding system to reduce ammonia emissions.
But campaigners warned that the Clean Air Strategy - published under EU rules but designed to last beyond Brexit - does not go far enough, while Labour accused the Government of making plans but failing to act.
According to ministers the plans will reduce the cost of pollution to Britain by an estimated £1bn every year by 2020, rising to £2.5bn every year from 2030 onwards.
It intends to halve the number of people in the UK exposed to levels of particulates above the World Health Organisation limit of 10 microgrammes/m3.
Campaigners were left disappointed that the consultation document failed to lay out how the Government will tackle the issue of NOX emissions from cars.
Doug Parr from Greenpeace told BBC News: "The ambition is impressive - but how is it going to be achieved? Lots of councils simply don’t have the resources to deal with these issues.”
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas meanwhile said: "It's good to see a strategy finally published - but the details of this plan look extremely underwhelming. The Government is using a water pistol to put out the air pollution wildfire."
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "Air quality has improved significantly since 2010 but sixty years on from the historic Clean Air Act a clear truth remains - air pollution is making people ill, shortening lives and damaging our economy and environment.
"This clean air strategy sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of the government to improve air quality."
In an article for the Daily Telegraph written alongside Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, he added: “With the world getting wealthier, and technology getting cleaner, it is unacceptable that poor air quality is cutting lives short, damaging children’s health and poisoning our natural environment.
“Our departure from the EU marks a new chapter for the UK, in which we set gold standards based on scientific excellence. This clean air strategy will ensure that the actions we take today will secure our health for tomorrow.”
Bur Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman argued: "Michael Gove has become the Secretary of State for Consultations - with over 25 consultations published by his department since the General Election and not a single piece of primary legislation brought forward."