MPs put pressure on Gove over Air Quality Plan

67 MPs from across the House of Commons have signed a joint-letter urging the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to include a diesel scrappage scheme alongside other measures in the government’s Air Quality Plan.

Led by the Labour MP for Swansea West, Geraint Davies, the letter calls for a series of measures including low emission zones that would restrict access for ‘the most polluting vehicles’ in towns and cities alongside a ‘targeted’ scrappage scheme for diesel vehicles.

Geraint Davies, the MP for Swansea West, has coordinated a cross-party appeal to Michael Gove

Mr Davies had previously introduced a Clean Air Bill to Parliament (see story), and his letter calls for a number of measures that had featured in the bill, including new powers for local authorities to tackle engine idling and incentives for cleaner transport.


The Bill also called for rapid development of electric car charging infrastructure and “reliable, real time” emissions testing.

Mr Davies said: “Thanks to the cross-party support for my Clean Air Bill, I have been able to unite growing pressure on the new Defra Secretary, Michael Gove, to take bold action to give the UK leadership in combating air pollution, which is now a public health disaster.

“According to the Royal College of Physicians, who support my Clean Air Bill, 40,000 premature deaths are caused by air pollution at a cost of £20 billion each year. As Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, we have come together to demand that the government incorporates the provisions in the Clean Air Bill into its forthcoming Air Quality Strategy, to prevent further unnecessary deaths and to make a massive difference to thousands of lives.”

The government has a 31 July deadline to publish its Air Quality Plan, setting out the strategy for meeting EU targets for a reduction in emissions of nitrogen dioxide, which the UK has failed to meet since 2010.


A draft version of the government’s plan was published for consultation on 5 May, the third to have been published after the government had lost legal challenges by green campaigners ClientEarth over previous versions in 2015 and 2016 (see story).

67 MPs have signed the letter to Michael Gove over the government’s air quality plan

ClientEarth lodged a further legal challenge over the draft version of the plan this month, describing the draft plan as ‘insufficient’ to meet the UK’s legal requirements (see story). However, this was dismissed by the High Court earlier this month, which ruled that the plans were not unlawful as they were in a draft form (see story).

The draft plan did highlight diesel cars as one of the sources of nitrogen dioxide in Great Britain, and asked for views on whether a ‘targeted scrappage scheme’ would be an appropriate measure to improve air quality, although it does not suggest that the measure would be adopted.

Elsewhere the plan suggests that local authorities should look to establish a network of Clean Air Zones, in towns and cities — but noted that councils should seek to implement measures that did not involve directly charging road users where that is likely to have a similar effect.

The full list of signatories to the letter includes:

Geraint Davies MP, author of Clean Air Bill, Labour

Tim Farron MP, Leader of the Lib Dems

Sue Hayman MP, Shadow EFRA Secretary, Labour

Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of the Green Party

Zac Goldsmith MP, Conservative

Neil Parish MP, Chair of EFRA Committee, Conservative

Hilary Benn MP, Labour

Rachael Maskell MP, Shadow Transport Minister. Labour

David Drew MP, Shadow EFRA Minister, Labour

David Amess MP, Conservative

Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour

Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Trade Secretary, Labour

Helen Goodman MP, Labour

Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour

Matthew Offord MP, Conservative

Nic Dakin MP, Labour

John McNally MP, SNP

Catherine West MP, Labour

Clive Betts MP, Labour

Karen Buck MP, Labour

Teresa Pearce MP, Labour

Kelvin Hopkins MP, Labour

Stephen Morgan MP, Labour

Paul Williams MP, Labour

Sandy Martin MP, Labour

Chris Evans MP, Labour

Ruth George MP, Labour

Grahame Morris MP, Labour

Alex Sobel MP, Labour

Preet Gill MP, Labour

Wera Hobhouse MP, Labour

Kate Green MP, Labour

Ronnie Campbell MP, Labour

Mike Hill MP, Labour

Rosie Duffield, Labour

Debbie Abrahams MP, Labour

Roger Godsiff MP, Labour

Layla Moran MP, Lib Dem

Emma Dent Coad MP, Labour

Jo Stevens MP, Labour

Sarah Jones MP, Labour

Mike Amesbury MP, Labour

Philippa Whitford MP, SNP

Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Labour

Chris Elmore MP, Labour

Anna MacMorrin MP, Labour

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour

Paula Sherriff MP, Labour

Kate Hoey MP, Labour

Ruth Cadbury MP, Labour


Baroness Parminter, Lib Dem Environment Spokesperson

Baroness Randerson, Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson

Baroness Walmsley, Lib Dem

Earl of Lytton, Crossbench

Lord Maginnis, UUP

Countess Margaret of Mar, Crossbench

Baroness Finlay, Crossbench

Baroness Lister, Labour

Lord Warner, Labour

Baroness Blackstone, Labour

Baroness Jones, Green Party

Lord Pendry, Labour

Lord Brooke, Labour

Lord Haworth, Labour

Earl of Glasgow, Lib Dem

Baroness Kramer, Lib Dem


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