In a speech at Kew Gardens yesterday, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove announced that the draft Environment Bill will include new legally binding limits on particulate pollution.

The new limits will cap particulate pollution at 10 micrograms per cubic metre – the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation. This represents a significant departure from EU guidelines, which currently ban pollution of more than 25 micrograms per cubic metre.

In announcing the new rules, Mr Gove stressed the political, economic and moral need to take action saying:

“Time is running out to make the difference we need; to repair the damage we as a species have done to the planet we have plundered.” He added that: “The scale of action required may be daunting, but the need to act is imperative”.

Responding to the Secretary of State’s speech, Nicky Philpott, Director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change said:

“The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change welcomes Michael Gove’s announcement that the Environment Bill will include a legally binding commitment to limit particulate pollution to maximum levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

“We call for close collaboration between the DEFRA and the Department for Health and Social Care in tackling the air quality crisis – which is responsible for up to 40,000 deaths per year.

“In reducing air pollution, investing in active travel and promoting healthy diets, the UK is presented with the opportunity to realise myriad co-benefits to public health, the environment and our economy – but urgent action is required.

For information see Evening Standard story.

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