Government launches Clean Air Strategy for UK

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, launched what he calls an ambitious new strategy to improve air quality across the UK over the following decades.

The document starts with a commitment to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040, then goes on to target other sources of pollution with commitments to:

  • Reduce air pollution from agriculture by supporting the use of low emission farming techniques, infrastructure and equipment and by introducing regulations to minimise pollution from fertilizers.
  • Put the UK at the forefront of low carbon innovation. In partnership with UK Research and Investment (UKRI), the government has launched a joint research programme worth £19.6 million to promote the development of cleaner technologies.
  • Tackle domestic air pollution by targeting wood-burning stoves and open fires. Ensuring only the cleanest stoves are available for sale from 2022, prohibiting the sale of the most polluting fuels; including coal and wet wood, and continuing to explore how local authorities can best update and upgrade inefficient and polluting heating appliances as well as enforce updated smoke control legislation.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:

“Breathing dirty air is associated with a host of health problems, from asthma to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, and all too often it is the most vulnerable – children, older people and those from poorer backgrounds – who are hit hardest. In short: clean air helps you live longer.

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