Committee calls on government to bring forward air quality target

The Chair of the House of Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish MP, has written to the Secretary of State about air quality standards, calling on the government to reach its air quality target sooner than currently planned.

On the 16 March, Defra opened its consultation on the long-term environmental targets set out in the Environment Act 2021.

Mr Parish welcomed the publication of these targets, but said he wanted to ‘challenge’ the government to go further on air quality.

Neil Parish MP said in his letter to Secretary of State George Eustice: ‘In the Committee’s most recent report on air quality, Air Quality and coronavirus: a glimpse of a different future or business as usual, we recommended that the Government set a specific target to reduce the annual mean concentration of PM2.5 to under 10μg/m3 by 1 January 2030, in line with WHO guidelines.

‘As your consultation document sets out air pollution poses the biggest environmental risk to public health, is particularly threatening to vulnerable groups, as well as damaging habitats and contributing to climate change. It is therefore disappointing to see that you are consulting on a concentration target that would see the UK meet the WHO guideline by 2040 rather than 2030.

‘I’m sure you are aware of recent research by Imperial College London’s Environmental Research Group that found that it would be possible to meet the WHO target by 2030 and that the costs of meeting that target would be far exceeded by the health related savings. I would be grateful if, as part of this consultation, you would reconsider this target.

‘I also believe that it would help inform the public consultation on this target if the department were able to publish the analysis it undertook which led to the decision to consult on a target of 2040 rather than 2030 date for meeting the concentration target. I request that you publish the supporting analysis, and consider extending the public consultation period, to allow this analysis to be considered and commented on as part of the consultation exercise.’

He added that the Committee looks forward to working with Defra as it develops plans to meet these ambitions.

Photo by Mario La Pergola


Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Very good. But is Mr. Parish still the Chair? And has he given up on wood stoves?

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top