Minister quizzed on air pollution deaths

23 February 2010

The Minister for Food, Farming and Environment appears before the Environmental Audit Committee's third and final evidence session of its inquiry into air quality. Watch live from 10.20am.

Witnesses

Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

  • Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Minister for Food, Farming and Environment
  • Daniel Instone, Deputy Director, Atmosphere and Local Environment Programme
  • Tim Williamson, Air Quality Science and Evidence Team
  • Robert Vaughan, National and Local Air Quality Strategy

The purpose of the inquiry is to assess whether the Government is developing an effective strategy for meeting its obligations under the EU Air Quality Directives.

The last Government strategy for air quality in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published in 2007 recognises that air pollution is currently estimated to reduce the life expectancy of every person in the UK by an average of 7-8 months with estimated equivalent health costs of up to £20 billion each year.

Despite this the UK has failed to meet the target for particulate matter (PM10) under the EU Air Quality Framework Directive. In addition Defra projects that without further measures the air quality target for nitrogen dioxide will not be met in parts of the country by the 2010 deadline.

The Committee is also examining whether the strategy is enough to ensure that air pollution is reduced to acceptable levels across all the UK.

Image: PA/David Jones

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