CogitamusNews → Joint Parliamentary Air Quality Inquiry – what’s happening?

Joint Parliamentary Air Quality Inquiry – what’s happening?

With much fanfare in late March, it was announced that four parliamentary select committees – Environment Audit, Environment Food & Rural Affairs, Health and Transport – were to undertake a joint inquiry into the environmental issue of the day – improving our air quality. The aim was to give the issue a holistic approach that the subject matter warrants and deserves. Yet while we have had a General Election intervene, we have not heard much at all about the progress of the joint Committee inquiry since polling day.

Since then we have had an announcement from the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, targeting the death of the combustion engine by 2040. Meanwhile car manufacturers announce their capabilities of mass producing electric cars for their markets and – in some instances – their own voluntary scrappage schemes for their makes as a major means of reducing road traffic emissions of air pollutants, heralding the use of more sustainable modes of transport.

Michael Gove has also proclaimed that he wants a Green Brexit where he blamed the EU for not tackling air pollution from diesel vehicles and saw the national agencies as the main regulators after the UK leaves. This offers at least the opportunity to create “more rigorous and more responsive institutions” than the European Commission and European Court of Justice that will enable the public to hold the Government to account on the environment.

The latest health research from China[1] this summer suggests breathing dirty air – particularly PMs – can causes hormones to spike and alter human metabolism, explaining much better why long-term exposure to pollution is associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a shorter life span.

Now, with the House of Commons returning on 5th September for a short session before the party conference season kicks off, let us hope our Committee chairs do not lose sight of it all.  Events since their predecessors’ announcement such as working towards a Green Brexit, the declared demise of the combustion engine, questions over whether electric cars can step up to the mark and, finally, the latest health impact evidence all add further to the need for their joint inquiry.

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-pollution-stress-hormones-idUSKCN1AV1VK

By Murad Qureshi, Associate Consultant, Cogitamus Limited

 

Posted Sunday, September 10th, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Filed under News