Air pollution is a serious issue that warrants serious debate - Yorkshire Post Letters
GP Taylor writes his entire column “Ulez is about money not improving air quality” without offering a single, constructive suggestion for addressing air pollution or climate change (The Yorkshire Post, September 6).
Air pollution causes the early death of thousands of people every year. Parliament has declared a climate emergency, yet the Government is still far from being on course to meeting its longer term climate targets.
These are serious issues warranting serious debate as to solutions. Mr Taylor is obstructing that with comments that he must know are misleading. He asks “If cars are climate change monsters, why doesn’t he just ban them?”, referring to London Ulez and Sadiq Khan who introduced it.
Most cars and lorries emit both air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Over the years, taxes on running them have not fully reflected the damage they do.
The reason Khan doesn’t just ban them is – obviously- that this would be a far more drastic measure than introducing Ulez charges on the most polluting vehicles.
Khan has taken firm action for the sake of people’s health. Had more funding been available to support owners of older, dirtier cars in London, there would be much less controversy.
In my home city, Sheffield City Council has gone ahead with a charging Clean Air Zone, which in our case does not charge private cars. It is supporting affected vehicle owners as best it can. But having failed to act for so long, central Government appears to be quite happy for Khan and Local Authorities around the country to take the flak for taking the underfunded actions which are within their powers.
Road charging, which Mr Taylor also maligns, would initially be needed to at least partially replace lost fuel duty, which is not payable on electric vehicles.
Politicians from all the main political parties support the idea and the detailed policy should be designed to be fair.
This is another policy area which deserves honest, informed debate, not the crass misrepresentation emanating from some sections of the press.