Everything you need to know about the new Environment Bill
Today, the government published the long-awaited Environment Bill. Zak from our policy team takes a look at what it means for lung health.
The Environment Bill is a new piece of law that outlines a framework to set targets on environmental issues, including air pollution, biodiversity and water.
There is no safe level of air pollution to breathe in. And current legal standards on air quality are failing people's health.
This Environment Bill could be a big chance to improve and protect lung health across the country, but it doesn't go far enough.
The bill recognises the need for new, legally-binding, targets for the most harmful type of air pollution, fine particulate matter (PM2.5). And that's great. But the government doesn't have to legally set those targets until 2022.
We've been breathing dirty air in this country for far too long. Experts at the World Health Organization have already set a recommended target for these toxic particles. If the WHO has already set standards, why do we need to wait until 2022? Why wait to confirm what we already know?
And once they've been set, we want the government to promise to meet the WHO's targets by 2030 at the very latest.
Alongside these targets, we need to see the government publish a more ambitious plan to lower air pollution and provide more funding for this work.
If this bill becomes law, we need to see the government seize this moment. This framework is an opportunity. The government needs to set its clean air targets urgently. It's critical to set stronger deadlines so we can protect everyone's health as soon as possible.
Before it becomes law, this bill has to go through parliament. We'll be working tirelessly with MPs to make the bill as strong and as bold as possible.
Now is the time for action. Let's not miss this opportunity.