Why it's time for MPs to act on air pollution

Tessa, who lives with COPD, has written an open letter to MPs and members of the House of Lords asking them to improve air quality targets in the Environment Bill.

Picture of big ben at night

Dear parliamentarians,

I'm aware that my progressive, incurable lung condition is partially caused by spending 8 years working for with a charity sending volunteers overseas, next to a window opening onto 3-lane traffic.

I now need ambulatory oxygen just to walk a small distance, which means that living on the third floor of my building, without access to a lift, is very challenging. Mind you, the oxygen does now get me a seat on the underground!

It is vital that the Environment Bill is strengthened to set stronger targets to reduce air pollution. 

It is vital that the Environment Bill is strengthened to set stronger targets to reduce air pollution. Lower levels of air pollution will mean that people with lung conditions can increase their mobility. It has been proved without a doubt that exercise and walking increase life expectancy for people like me who live with a lung condition. 

It is not good enough to recommend that people like me just avoid air pollution. Living in central London, not only will that restrict my ability to exercise but the idea of recommending people avoid air pollution is as impractical as it is impossible. 

The solution is obvious: we need to tackle air pollution, and for that to happen we need strong, legally-binding targets. 

Action is vital

I call on all MPs to push for improvements to the Environment Bill for the sake of the millions of people in the UK living with lung disease, as well as the millions more who are yet to be diagnosed. 

We need to see a new, legally-binding target for PM2.5 (a type of dangerous air pollution) that is in line with the World Health Organization's guideline. Unless something is done, there will be even more of us who are impacted every day, requiring more expensive medication at increasing cost to the NHS.

We need all parliamentarians to speak up on behalf of improving the quality of our air. 

We need all parliamentarians to speak up on behalf of improving the quality of our air. 

They need to do this not just to improve the quality of life for existing lung patients, but also for all those whose lungs will continue to be damaged while we wait for change. 

Action to tackle the public health crisis of air pollution is vital, now more than ever. 

Yours,

Tessa,

Chair
Breathe Easy Westminster 

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4 March 2020