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This is our last chance to improve the Environment Bill

The Environment Bill is back. Zak from our policy team explains why you should email your MP to ask them to support improvements to the Bill. Eight thousand people have already demanded change – join them today.

After a delay of over 200 days, the Environment Bill returned to Parliament at the start of November. At its next stage all MPs will be able to take part in debate on the Bill and table amendments to improve it.

This is a critical opportunity to get politicians to change the Bill to include a stronger legal target for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – one of the most dangerous pollutants for our health. Current clean air laws don’t go far enough to protect us. The current legal target for PM2.5 is twice as high as what experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend. This is simply unacceptable.

While we welcome their commitment to set a new target, government want to wait until 2022 to tell us how ambitious this target will be. This is disappointing and risks kicking the can down the road and putting people’s health at risk for even longer. At a time when lung health matters more than ever we urgently need MPs to support an amendment to the Bill which brings our clean air laws in line with WHO guidelines.

When he was Environment Secretary, the now Cabinet Officer Minister at the heart of government Michael Gove said that “We have got to ensure our Environment Bill includes a legally binding commitment on particulate matter so that no part of the country exceeds the levels recommended by the WHO.”

It is time for MPs and Ministers to listen to his sage words.

Reaching WHO guidelines will be good for the economy. The Confederation of British Industry estimate that a £1.6bn annual economic benefit to the UK could be realised by meeting WHO guidelines. They also say that three million working days could be gained by reducing worker sickness absence, or absence due to sick children.

Air pollution is a ticking time bomb for people’s health. It can worsen people’s lung conditions, increase our risk of lung cancer and stunt the growth of children’s lungs. Bold action now will help save future generations from this invisible killer.

Eight thousand people have already demanded change, will you join them?

Email your MP to ask them to support the amendment.

Take action now

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13 November 2020