Select Committees’ report is “wake-up call” for government on air quality, says Urban Transport Group

Press release

The Urban Transport Group has today welcomed an unprecedented joint inquiry by four House of Commons Select Committees on the Government’s failure to improve air quality in the UK.

The report - published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Social Care, and Transport Committees – contains a series of recommendations on how Government must improve air quality, given the 40,000 early deaths that are caused each year as a result of air pollution.

These recommendations include a new Clean Air Act, a clean air fund financed by the transport industry, a national air quality support programme for councils, and for the Government to require manufacturers to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars earlier than the current 2040 target.

The Urban Transport Group provided evidence to the Committees last year as part of the inquiry, and are named in the report.

Dr Jon Lamonte, Chief Executive of Transport for Greater Manchester and Urban Transport Group lead Board member for air quality, said:

“Today’s report should come as a wake-up call for Government, whose plans to date have been insufficient to meet the scale of the challenge that transport authorities face on air quality.

“We were particularly pleased to see that the Select Committees share our view that improving air quality should be a joint endeavour between national and local government, with national Government providing leadership and a framework, and city regions given the powers, support and funding they need to deliver effective local air quality plans.

“Tackling poor air quality caused by transport in our cities on tight timescales is extremely challenging, which is why the Select Committees are right that we need a much more comprehensive and robust approach from Government so that we can get on with the job of planning and delivering solutions to local air quality challenges that will work in specific local circumstances.”

Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee, said:

"Transport is the key to improving air quality, but it requires real political leadership and co-ordinated action from the Government and local authorities. The solution isn't just about reducing the pollution each vehicle produces, we also need policies that will reduce our reliance on cars. This requires more urgency, imagination and innovation than is being demonstrated by the Government, local councils or transport service providers."

Click here to read UTG’s evidence in full.

Read the full report on improving air quality.