CIEH extremely disappointed at the Government’s rejection of the Lords’ amendments to the Environment Bill

21 October 2021, Heidi Douglas-Osborn

The Government has published its position on amendments to the Environment Bill. They have stated that they disagreed with the Lords’ amendment three which would have ensured that the UK Government committed to meeting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2005 guidelines for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution by 2030 at the latest.

CIEH strongly supported the House of Lords amendment to the Bill and the commitment of the UK Government to WHO levels on air quality. As a member of the Healthy Air Campaign (HAC) coalition of charities and public health organisations, CIEH has been working with Peers in the House of Lords to table amendments aimed at strengthening the environmental commitments within the Bill, most notably, on air quality.

In September, the WHO bought out new Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs). The WHO has recommended that guidelines for air pollution for PM2.5 should be lowered to half the levels of their last guidelines in 2005, in view of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health.

Tamara Sandoul, Policy and Campaigns Manager at CIEH said:

“We are extremely disappointed by the Government decision to reject the amendment to introduce a strong target for particulate matter within the Environment Bill, which was added to the Bill in the House of Lords.  This is, in our view, a failure to protect public health as well as a missed opportunity to contribute further to net zero.

The new WHO guidelines highlighted how harmful air quality is to human health, with the guidelines for PM2.5 being lowered to half the previously considered ‘safe level’.

With our partners in the Healthy Air Campaign, we will continue to lobby the Government on the importance of these public protections and campaign to make sure that its planned targets are set at an ambitious level to match WHO guidelines and protect public health.”

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