Why we need a Clean Air Act

Thursday 15 June is National Clean Air day. We're calling for Parliament to pass a new clean air act to tackle the health effects of air pollution. Our Policy Officer Alex Davison explains why we are doing this and gives an update on our work so far.

15 June 2017

Air pollution is a serious public health problem. Researchers have linked common pollutants to asthma attacks, heart disease and dementia. The Royal College of Physicians has found that pollution contributes to around 40,000 deaths a year.

People with asthma feel the effects of air pollution every day. We know from surveys we’ve done that around a third of people with asthma are put off exercising outside by traffic fumes - while nearly half are reluctant to go shopping or even walk around congested areas.

A Clean Air Act could make all the difference

We don’t believe enough has been done so far.

Which is why we’re partnering with other organisations to persuade the Government to take the lead and develop a new Clean Air Act to be debated in Parliament. We want to see air pollution hotspots cleaned up so that people with asthma can stop worrying about the air they breathe and asthma attacks are prevented.

There are many sources of pollution, therefore any solution to this problem needs to involve lots of different organisations including industry, transport, farming, local governments and many others. The Government is best placed to get these organisations to work together - this is why we need Parliament to take action and pass a Clean Air Act.

What we’ve done

 On the 5 May, the Government released its new air pollution framework after losing a series of legal battles, against our Healthy Air Campaign partner Client Earth. We have now officially responded to the plan. You can read our full reply on our consultation response page.

Asthma UK and our Healthy Air Campaign partners feel the plan could go much further. The plan requires local authorities to create their own local plans but gives them no extra funding to do this. It also limits the tools they can use, for example, the plan makes it difficult for councils to discourage cars with high emissions from entering pollution hot stops.

Asthma UK and our partners want to see more. That’s why we’re calling for parliament to pass a Clean Air Act that gives local authorities power to tackle this problem and clean up our air.

Get involved

Asthma UK is going to organise activity with our partners soon - sign up to our newsletter to get the latest asthma and air pollution news so that you can get involved.

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