Yet, while Theresa May has committed to zero net emissions by 2050, it won’t be her responsibility after next month and it remains to be seen whether her successor shows similar ambition – Boris Johnson, for one, appears reluctant to make any commitments.
But while bodies like Public Health England are right to urge families to cut the number of unnecessary car journeys, as well as looking at new ways to heat and insulate their homes more efficiently, individual initiatives – like the Leeds and Bradford schools encouraging parents not leave their car engines running while their way to collect their children from lessons – will only go so far.
It requires greater policy co-ordination after the introduction of a Clean Air Zone in Leeds had to be “significantly postponed” due to a delays developing a vehicle checking system. And it needs the Department for Transport to view spending on buses, cycles, cycle lanes and footpaths as an investment in the nation’s future health so the number of people needing hospital treatment for breathing ailments is reduced. It is called joined-up policy-making and future-proofing the natural environment.