Last weekend, I had a lovely time with our community at Lowedges Festival. As well as taking time to chat to local people, I also showed my support for Friends of the Earth and their clean air campaign.
Air pollution in the UK is a national scandal, affecting millions of people all across the country. Due to government inaction on this issue, asthma deaths in England and Wales have risen by a quarter over the last decade and, in Sheffield, poor air quality causes 500 people to die prematurely each year. In 71% of UK towns and cities, children are breathing unsafe levels of air pollution that can leave them with lasting health problems.
The Tories have faced legal challenge after legal challenge for their failure to get to grips with the problem. And, despite widespread public opposition, they’ve failed to take any serious action and what’s more are determined to push ahead with fracking, which will only make air pollution worse.
I’m glad that Sheffield Council is using its local powers to improve air quality in our city but central Government needs to do much more to deal with the problem. Unlike the Tories, Labour would make tackling air pollution a priority. In Government, we’d introduce a new Clean Air Act, ban fracking, invest in green energy, and improve public transport to decrease our dependency on cars.