Think tank calls for post-Brexit Britain to lead on clean air

Bright Blue has called for Britain to have ambitious limits and policies to ensure that it is a global leader when it comes to clean air, after Brexit.

In its report, Emission Impossible? Air Pollution, National Governance and the Transport Sector, Bright Blue proposed new legal limits, responsibilities and policies to ensure the UK can significantly cut air pollution levels after leaving the European Union. It drew on polling which saw 71% of UK adults report concern at the potential impact of air pollution and 69% agreeing that the government should reduce air pollution below current levels.

To increase national accountability on air pollution, Bright Blue called for the World Health Organisation’s guideline limits for all health-harming air pollutants – considered more demanding than current EU limits – to be adopted and for the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), or a new Committee on Clean Air, to have the responsibility of recommending future legal limits for different air pollutants to parliament and additional targets relating to concentrations by population density and deprivation. Lifting the freeze on the value of Fuel Duty and applying a surcharge on Fuel Duty for diesel fuel instead, as well as exempting the purchase of ultra-low emission vehicles from VAT, were recommended as ways to reduce air pollution from transport.

William Nicolle, Researcher at the think tank and a co-author of the report, said: “The UK government needs new, ambitious legal limits, legal responsibilities and policies on air pollution. This country should aspire to be a global leader on yet another environmental issue, and strive to become the country with the cleanest air in urban areas in the developed world.”

Bright Blue