YP Comment: Air quality - More action is still needed

On the face of it the Government's announcement that new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution is good news.

The Government is providing a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions.

So, too, is the pledge by Ministers to provide a £255m fund to help councils tackle emissions, including potentially creating charging zones for the dirtiest vehicles – part of the new £3bn clean air strategy.

Tackling the toxic air pollution choking cities like Leeds has become a political priority given that it’s blamed for cutting short the lives of as many as 40,000 people in the UK every year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Until now there has been too much delay in deciding how best to tackle pollution problems, which the Royal College of Physicians links to cancer, asthma, strokes and heart disease.

The question is do the Government’s proposals go far enough? The Local Government Association has welcomed the extra funding which can be used to improve, rather than just monitor, air quality, but it is also calling for a national diesel scrappage scheme to be introduced to encourage people to switch to lower emission vehicles.

However, previous scrappage schemes have been rejected by ministers because they are not deemed good value for money.

There are concerns that the level of investment going into making public transport cleaner is insufficient and also that the Government still appears to be passing the buck, with local authorities being told to solve pollution on their own streets and make unpopular decisions such as whether or not charging zones should be introduced. The end result is we are left with more questions than answers.