UK Mayors want Boris Johnson to commit to tougher air pollution targets

Mayors of UK cities have put more pressure on Boris Johnson to commit to tougher air pollution targets. This renewed urgency happened after details of the inquest into the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah were released.

As reported in The Guardian, this cross-party group representing over 17 million UK residents included Labour’s Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Conservative mayor of West of England, Tim Bowles, who have signed a letter alongside the city leaders of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and North of Tyne to enshrine into law a UK commitment to achieve World Health Organization air pollution guidelines by 2030.

The letter, also signed by UK business leaders, is also calling for a £1.5bn boost to government spending on measures to improve air quality throughout the UK and for WHO targets to be included in the recently delayed environment bill. UK100, a group of 100 local authorities who coordinated the letter, claims the money could fund the removal of half a million of the highest polluting cars and vans from the road.

Campaigns and regional leaders agree that without a guarantee in place in government, environmental protections could be watered down after Brexit and no progress made on tackling air pollution in the UK. With more than a third of local authorities in the UK exceeding World Health Organization limits and every borough of London exceeding the limits, action is required.

Recent studies suggest that indoor and outdoor air pollution is damaging every organ in the body with effects related to heart and lung disease, diabetes, dementia, reduced intelligence and increased depression. It’s also thought that children and unborn babies suffer from air pollution the most.

In the letter, Khan said, “Including WHO recommended limits in the environment bill will be one of the most effective ways of ensuring other families do not have to suffer the same heartbreak as Ella’s have […] Ministers must now learn the lessons from the coroner’s conclusion in Ella’s case and do more to tackle the deadly scourge of air pollution in London and across the country.”

Polly Billington, the Director of UK100, said, “We cannot wait any longer to prevent more tragic deaths like Ella’s. Forty-thousand people die prematurely in the UK every year from air pollution. We need to act with the fierce urgency of now, not just to serve Ella’s memory, but to prevent more needless loss of life.”

Remove unnecessary air pollution from our outside spaces

If the UK government is slow to react to the latest damaging research, then it’s up to us to take the necessary steps to cut down our own contributions to air pollution.

At EGO, we have been working on solutions to bring down the amount of petrol garden tools being used around the world. By developing market-leading battery technology, we can provide everyone with petrol-matching performance without harmful gases filling our atmosphere.

To show our commitment to leaving petrol behind and highlighting the need for safer power sources, we recently published The Report which found that 11X more CO emitted by a petrol leaf blower compared to a Ford Fiesta.

Discover more about our work and take up the challenge by downloading The Report here:

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