Committees launch 'unprecedented' joint inquiry on air pollution


MPs from four parliamentary committees have joined forces to launch a new inquiry to scrutinise Government plans to tackle urban air pollution, including from transport.

The Environmental Audit, Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Health, and Transport Committees will hold four evidence sessions to consider the health and environmental impacts of air pollution, in the face of ‘mounting scientific evidence’.

Transport Select Committee chair Louise Ellman

The committees will be considering how effectively Government policies take account of these impacts and whether the Government’s revised air quality plans will be sufficient to meet the legal requirements for urgent action on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels and set out ‘effective and proportionate’ measures for reducing emissions from transport.

MPs will also ask whether there is sufficient cross-government collaboration to ensure the right fiscal and policy incentives are adopted to meet air quality targets.

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: ‘The UK economy depends on an efficient and flexible transport system but emissions from vehicles are a significant problem and the standards that governments have relied on have not delivered the expected reductions.

‘We will be asking what more can be done to increase the use of cleaner vehicles as well as to encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport.’

Neil Parish MP, chair of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs committee, said: ‘The solutions to cleaning up our air are not the responsibility of just one minister.

‘That’s why we have taken the unprecedented task of convening four select committees so we can scrutinise the Government’s efforts from every angle and look for holistic solutions that are good for health, transport and the environment.’

The High Court has ordered ministers to publish a draft new air quality plan to tackle NO2 by 24 April, with a final plan by 31 July.

MPs said they will examine whether a revised Government plan will go far enough, ‘not only to meet legal limits but also to deliver maximum health and environmental benefits’.


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