The leaders of Greater Manchester, Stockport and Liverpool City Region are among a group of politicians calling for new clean air laws and more funding to support urban ‘clean air zones’.
A total of 17 mayors and civic leaders, members of the UK100 group of cities, have signed a letter demanding that Prime Minister Theresa May kick-start a national action plan to fight air pollution.
“Our country’s polluted air is shortening lives, damaging our children’s lungs, and severely impacting on the NHS as well as costing the economy in working days lost”, the letter states.
“As city leaders we are committed to playing our part in an ambitious national plan for clean air that prioritises action to reduce road transport emissions.”
The city leaders have demanded that the government pass a new Clean Air Act to give local authorities the power to regulate emissions, such as those produced by taxis and buses; establish a ‘targeted’ vehicle renewal scheme to help residents and businesses replace older, more polluting cars; and provide more funding to support the roll-out of clean air zones in urban areas.
Greater Manchester is currently exploring options for its own clean air zones, which could include vehicle charging zones and workplace incentives to reduce congestion.
The letter to the Prime Minister came shortly after a snapshot poll of 38 councils by the Local Government Association (LGA) - including 11 in the North West - found that lack of and uncertainty over funding were the biggest issues holding back investment in sustainable travel options.
Cllr Judith Blake, transport spokesperson for the LGA, said: “Councils are working hard to reduce congestion on our roads and tackle air pollution in our communities. However, this survey makes clear that significant change is still needed.”