Dr Richard Smith, chair of the The UK Health Alliance, has written to Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to welcome the consulation on the earliest possible phaseout date of dangerously polluting petrol, diesel and hybrid cars.
The consultation, which is open until 29th May 2020, was announced on 20th February.
Since the publication of our 2018 report, Moving Beyond the Air Quality Crisis, the Alliance has supported a ban on the sale of new ‘internal combustion engine’ (ICE) cars and vans by 2030 – in line with countries including Ireland, Denmark and India. In the letter, Richard makes clear the health, economic and environmental case for such a move.
Vehicle derived pollution is currently estimated to cost the NHS over £6 billion per year, although without urgent and large-scale change to the way we travel this cost could reach £18.6 billion a year by 2035.
Read the full text below, or download here.
28th February 2020
Dear Secretary of State,
UK Health Alliance on Climate Change welcomes the consultation on ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles
I am writing on behalf of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change to thank you for outlining ambitious plans to phase out the sale of new polluting cars and vans. As an Alliance of seventeen leading health bodies, including the Medical and Nursing Royal Colleges, Faculties of Health, the British Medical Association, the British Medical Journal, and the Lancet; we strongly support the inclusion of 2030 and 2032 as a phaseout date in the upcoming consultation.
The UK is facing the reality of climate change right now, with thousands of people displaced by the worst flooding in living memory. It is incumbent on you and your colleagues in Government to show leadership – hosting COP26 in Glasgow this year gives you the opportunity to do just that. There is no better time to be bold and forge ahead with the task at hand.
As you will likely know, transport is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the UK, to which many life-limiting health problems such as lung cancer, strokes, asthma and dementia can be partly attributed. The health impacts of air pollutants from vehicles, such as nitrous oxide and fine particulate matter, costs the NHS over £6 billion a year. The most vulnerable in our communities are often impacted the hardest, and 1 in 4 hospitals across the UK are located in areas that exceed World Health Organization recommended limits of particulate pollution from petrol and diesel road transport.
To meet our commitments to reach net-zero emissions and protect people from harmful pollution, your Government must be bold and put in place world leading policies that accelerate clean growth and put UK industry at the forefront of the global shift to electric vehicles, whilst accelerating a shift towards alternative, cleaner and more active forms of transport.
As the leading health voice in the UK, we would urge you to continue to strive for the highest level of ambition within this consultation, and also by supporting strong clean air laws in the Environment Bill.
Once again, we thank you for putting forward this bold proposal, and we look forward to being a part of the consultation process.
Dr Richard Smith CBE
FMedSci, FRCPE, FRCGP, FRCSE, FFPHM
Chair, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change