London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned Prime Minister Theresa
May that UK will fail to meet its legal obligations on air quality unless the
government signs up to a series of major interventions, including a national
diesel scrappage fund, new low emission zones across the UK and a Clean Air Act
for the 21st century.
The Mayor has written to Mrs May to say that she has a
once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the quality of the air in London
and across the country when the government publishes its draft Air Quality
Plan, which the High Court has ruled must be published by 24 April.
In his letter to the Prime Minister the Mayor calls on
the government to:
Introduce a national diesel scrappage fund - to
help drivers who bought diesel cars in good faith. He has previously written to
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond proposing a targeted, fully-costed,
city-led, time-limited approach.
Introduce Ultra-Low Emission Zone-style schemes
where needed in other towns and cities across the UK similar to that due to be
introduced in central London in April 2019.
Take action to ensure that national policies
send the right messages to consumers. Vehicle Excise Duty and other fiscal
incentives continue to encourage the purchase of diesel cars - and they need to
Draft new legislation including a 21st
century Clean Air Act, which could provide the overarching framework for
action. It should provide a legally enforceable right to clean air for all
citizens and the government should introduce new powers to better regulate all
emissions sources, not just road transport. For example, London needs
additional powers to manage emissions from the river and construction sites.
Mayor said: “The government must play a full part if we are to protect the
health of our fellow citizens and achieve legal air quality limits as quickly
as possible. It is a national problem which requires national action, and the
Prime Minister has a once-in-a-generation
opportunity to transform the quality of the air in the
capital and across the country. I am doing all I can in London - but the only
way we can make our lethal air safe is if the government commits to the major
measures experts agree are necessary to tackle this incredibly serious issue.”