On the eve of Clean Air Day 2020, Clean Air in London is calling for a new Clean Air Act before COP26
The Conservative Party gave us the first Clean Air Act in 1956.
However, air pollution is still the UK’s largest environmental health risk and has made us more susceptible to COVID-19.
We know that homes and buildings are also still responsible for a large proportion of local air pollution and some 78% of greenhouse gas emissions in a city like London.
The Clean Air Act 1993 desperately needs to be updated therefore for modern fuels, technologies and circumstances. Four parliamentary select committees and many other people agree.
In essence, we need to give local authorities the powers that they need now to require zero or ultra low emission technologies in ‘Air Pollution Control Areas’ to reduce air pollution from homes and buildings.
By focusing on combustion sources, we would improve air quality, mitigate climate change and incentivise clean technologies.
The timing is perfect before the local elections, 65th anniversary of the first Clean Air Act and COP26 – which will be the most important global meeting on Climate Change since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015.
And the money is available. A new Clean Air Act would fit perfectly with Alok Sharma’s £3 billion plan to upgrade the energy efficiency of the nation’s buildings and support 100,000 jobs.
Together, we can save the world from air pollution as we did in 1956.
This speech was delivered by Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, at the Conservative Policy Forum’s Policy Pitch Competition on the main stage of the Conservative Party Conference on 5 October 2020.