After an analysis that showed a strong correlation between air pollution and poverty among children in the UK, Labour Party demanded tighter limits.
Five London boroughs have the worst child poverty rates and the worst air quality. These are according to Labour data, which maps high poverty areas against statistics on air pollution. The analysis revealed that the more child poverty a given area has, the dirtier its air is on average. Most of the UK’s 50 most polluted areas also have the highest rates.
High correlations between child poverty, air pollution, and boroughs in Walsall, Southampton and Portsmouth, Sandwell, Sandwell, Sandwell, and Portsmouth were also observed.
In the 11 local authorities which exceed the WHOs recommended guideline limit (g/m), the annual mean concentration of 10 micrograms/cubic metres of air (micrograms/cm) is exceeded3), an average of 39.5% of children are living in poverty much higher than the national average of 31%.
The research shows that around 6.7million children live in areas in the UK where the air quality has exceeded legal limits. Around 2 million of them also live in poverty.
The Labour party made the announcement following a December meeting with Ed Miliband, Keir Sterner, and Choked Up. Choked Up is a group young black and brown teens who live in areas that are affected by air pollution and are calling for clean air.
Jim McMahon was the shadow secretary for state for environment, foods and rural affairs. He stated that everyone should have the right of safe, clean air no matter where they live. The pandemic has taught us that public health must be at the top of the political agenda. It has to start with the air we breath.
He cited Labour’s Clean Air Act proposal, which would give people a legal right and require them to maintain clean air. The government rejected amendments that would have allowed for pollution limits to be set in line with WHO recommendations.
He stated that the Conservative government had voted against stricter pollution limits, refusing to protect British children’s health. Our children should have safe and clean air. Only a Clean Air Act will guarantee that.
The new environment legislation will allow the government to set new pollution targets starting in the second half of next year. The EU air pollution rules applied to the UK prior to Brexit were repeatedly breached by the government.
A government spokesperson stated: Air pollution has declined significantly since 2010, at a national scale, and emissions of fine particulate material have fallen by 11%. Meanwhile, nitrogen oxides emissions are at the lowest level since records began. We know that there is still much to be done. We are committed, through our Environment Act, to setting ambitious and concrete targets for air quality in order to continue driving forward tangible and lasting improvements in air quality.
London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and other polluted cities have established clean air zones to reduce the amount of air pollution.