Mary Creagh

Working hard for Wakefield

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Government needs to step up support for sustainable transport

Did you know that we're failing to meet our air quality targets, meaning that levels of pollution in Wakefield and many more of our towns and cities are dangerously high? Or that, one year on, the Government has still failed to decide what action to take against VW in the wake of the company's emissions scandal?

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Today, a new report from Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee, which Mary chairs, has made a damning assessment of the Department for Transport. This Government isn't doing enough to make our transport system cleaner and more sustainable.

The Department for Transport needs a clear strategy to increase the use of ultra-low emission vehicles, reduce air pollution and deal with the VW cheat device scandal so that it can meet decarbonisation and air quality targets, the Environmental Audit Committee says in its report.

The report reveals that Wakefield is in one of 38 clean air zones in the UK that has not met EU standards on levels of NOx, a pollutant which causes respiratory diseases. 

Commenting on the report, Mary said: 

"The Government's belated plan to tackle air quality means polluted towns and cities like Wakefield will hit 2010 air quality targets 10 years late, in 2020. Transport authorities throughout England told us they have had problems with getting sustainable transport projects off the ground, because the Department for Transport places more importance on economic benefits rather than the health benefits of improving air quality.

With the vote to leave the EU, there's a material risk to our air quality targets. At the very least, the Government should commit to keeping existing European air quality standards. We also want the Department to work with the Treasury, Health and Local Government Departments to ensure the benefits of clean air are properly costed in transport investment decisions."

Find out more and read the report here.

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