City leaders across England and Wales have teamed up to demand that British Prime Minister Theresa May take immediate action to fight air pollution, which scientists say causes at least 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK
A total of 17 mayors and civic leaders, representing 20 million people, signed a letter that calls for a national action plan to clean up the air to be implemented as a matter of urgency.
They include London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool and Dan Jarvis of Sheffield, along with leaders from Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle and Southampton.
“Our country’s polluted air is shortening lives, damaging our children’s lungs, and severely impacting on the NHS [National Health Service] as well as costing the economy in working days lost,” they say. “These consequences ... disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable.”
The group is demanding that the government: Pass a stringent clean air act that will give local authorities powers to regulate vehicle emissions; set up a targeted vehicle renewal scheme to replace older, more polluting cars, buses and trucks, but in a way that would support local businesses; and provide funds to support the establishment of clean air zones and provide investment in cleaner buses, taxis and other transport.
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