Friday, 18th August 2017

Red card on environment for 'greenest government ever'

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The government is failing to reduce air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding, a cross-party body of MPs has said.

The Environmental Audit Committee dished out a "red card" on these three concerns after examining efforts made since 2010.

The MPs said on a further seven green issues ministers deserved a "yellow card" denoting unsatisfactory progress.

The government said it strongly disagreed with the findings.

After coming to power in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron stated he was committed to leading the "greenest government ever".

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Our inquiry provides a wide ranging examination of the state of the environment and shows that further and continued effort is required to protect it properly”

Joan Walley MP
Environmental Audit Committee
A year later, a natural environment White Paper had the ambition of being "the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it inherited".

Dirty air
To put these ideas to the test, MPs decided to look at 10 key measures of environmental protection.

On air quality, The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said the government deserved a red card.

The MPs found that emissions of airborne pollutants rose in 2013 after being steady for a number of years before. Under the terms of an EU directive on dirty air, the UK failed to meet the standards required in 34 of the country's 43 zones.

This led to the European Commission taking legal action to force a more rapid clean up.

However an assessment carried out by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that London and two other regions would not meet the legal limits until 2030.

"A whole generation of young people in our cities will potentially have their health impaired by pollution before the government meets air quality safety standards," said committee chairman Joan Walley.

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