The Big Issue
Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to UK public health. A cross-party group of MPs is exploring whether the COVID-19 pandemic can act as a catalyst for change.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee is running an inquiry into Air Quality. The Committee is scrutinising whether the Government’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy and the Environment Bill will deliver the national leadership needed to urgently tackle the UK’s poor air quality.
In 2018, four Select Committees including EFRA made a number of recommendations to Government in its Improving Air Quality report. Since then, emerging research has suggested poor air quality may be linked to higher death and infection rates from COVID-19. Poor air quality has also been shown to disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities; costing the UK £20 billion and 40,000 lives per year.
The Committee will also address the delay in the rollout of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) as a result of the pandemic and some towns and cities’ plans to enable people to walk and cycle as the lockdown is eased.
How to get involved
Submit your views and help shape the inquiry. You can respond as an individual, a group or an organisation. You don’t need to answer all the questions.
The Committee is considering questions such as:
- Did the UK Government’s 2019 Air Quality Strategy set out an effective and deliverable strategy to tackle the UK’s poor air quality and address the issues raised in our 2018 report? Has the UK Government put in place the necessary structures and resources to deliver its strategy?
- Will the Environment Bill provide England with a robust legal framework to define and enforce air quality limits?
- What progress had the UK Government made on reducing air pollution and enforcing legal pollution limits before the Covid-19 pandemic?
- What does the early evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic say about the impact of poor air quality on health, and health inequalities for disadvantaged communities and other at-risk groups, and possible policy responses?
- What are the current and emerging risks and opportunities for air quality posed by:
- a) Short-term policy and societal changes in response to the pandemic, for example changes to transport to reduce the risk of transmission, and;
- b) Medium and long-term actions to promote economic recovery.
Deadline for written submission is Friday 7 August.