The Committee on Climate Change has today published a report that urges the Government to accelerate a ban on diesel and petrol cars.
The Government has proposed plans to ban diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040. However, a new report has said that this is too long and that the ban should be enforced from 2030.
Air pollution currently contributes to up to 36,000 deaths in the UK each year, while figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that over half of all premature deaths related to air pollution on a global scale are due to heart disease and stroke.
Research funded by the British Heart Foundation has previously found that even short-term exposure to diesel exhaust has harmful effects on the heart and circulatory system, promoting blood clotting and putting the heart under additional stress, both of which could increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke in people who are vulnerable.
Unfortunately, the UK’s legal limit of PM2.5 – dangerous particles caused by air pollution that has links with poor cardiovascular health – is not as strict as the levels recommended by the WHO.
The British Heart Foundation believes that adopting the WHO’s air quality guidelines into UK law is critical in protecting the public’s health. While the Clean Air Strategy, published in January, made a commitment to reduce the number of people living in areas where air pollution is above the WHO’s recommended limits, many vulnerable people, including those who already have existing heart and circulatory conditions, are currently exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution.
John Maingay, our Director of Policy and Influencing, said:
“It is encouraging that the Committee on Climate Change is urging a ban on diesel and petrol cars by 2030, rather than 2040. This positive step in the right direction will help us on the way to meeting the WHO’s air quality targets.
“We now need to see the rapid introduction of electric vehicle charging points and infrastructure on a wider scale to meet demands and help people to switch to greener modes of transport. But this is only part of the bold action we need to see across government, to support an ambitious plan to meet stricter legal limits for air pollution and truly protect the health of the nation.”
Find out more about air pollution