Clean Air Bill passes through to next stage at Lords

The Clean Air Bill, or Ella’s Law, which could enshrine the human right to clean air has passed through the committee stage at the House of Lords.

Named after Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death, the bill received no opposition as it passed through to the report stage.  

Brought in under Baroness Jenny Jones, the legislation would see a variety of public bodies reviewing and monitoring pollutants and pollution limits, with the aims of achieving clean air in the UK within five years of its passing.

Shortly after the bills reading at the House of Lords, Jones tweeted: 

The Bill would require the government to assess air pollution in England and Wales and publish detailed reports, including warnings when needed, and a citizens commission would review government compliance with this each year.

Four amendments were tabled, one of which would allow the secretary of state to postpone the deadline for a particular pollutant in a specified area by a maximum of five years ‘under strict conditions.’ It would not be permitted to extend this past January 2033, however.

Big Ben, Paris

A second amendment would set limit targets for fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide of 10 and 20 micrograms per cubic metre respectively to be achieved by January 2030, matching the latest EU proposals.

Baroness Jones also proposed to tighten future standards more closely to the mechanisms in the Climate Change Act 2008, requiring a ‘draft of the instrument to be laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.’ The final amendment seeks to correct omissions and typographical errors.

There could be wide ramifications if the bill is passed, as lib dem Baroness Brinton referenced how the bill could help to protect people living in inhospitable homes. Last week, a coroner ruled two-year-old Awaab Ishak died from prolonged exposure to black mould, despite repeated calls from his parents to their housing association, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), asking for help in tackling the mould.

Brinton said: ‘The coroner will write a prevention of deaths report, not to the housing association, because she has been so impressed with the steps it has taken, but a more general one to local authorities and other bodies responsible for social housing, which would, I believe, be covered by this Bill. It gives tenants of private landlords the right to take action on their human rights, in respect of which landlords have been very dilatory, and it could well help.’

Baroness Jones hopes the bill could be passed before the 10th anniversary of Ella’s death on February 15 2023. 

Photo by Thomas Kelley


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