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Reducing air pollution in the UK: Progress report 2018

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is marking 2 years since the publication of Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution with a 2018 progress update and a Westminster event that will bring stakeholders and parliamentarians together to accelerate action on air pollution.

Since the publication of Every breath we take the scale of the UK’s air pollution crisis has been recognised, and there is support for action at local and national level. However, the immediate and robust action needed from government has not materialised.

The government’s 2017 air quality plan was a missed opportunity to show the commitment and leadership required to tackle the UK’s dirty air crisis. 

Today, we are bringing together parliamentarians and policy makers to accelerate action to tackle air pollution. Participants will discuss what more needs to be done to protect and improve the public’s health and how health professionals can play their part.

Reducing air pollution in the UK: Progress report 2018 lays out the air pollution crisis facts, the government response so far, and the action needed to tackle the problem.

RCP's key recommendations for government

  1. Commit to new and ambitious targets for reduction in air pollution based on World Health Organization guidelines.
  2. Introduce a clean air bill for the 21st century. It must tackle the modern sources of air pollution, safeguard the legal protections that we could be stripped of on leaving the EU, and improve on existing legislation to enshrine the right to breathe clean air.
  3. Set a UK-wide framework for the expansion of 'clean air zones' in towns and cities (including ships in docks and airports), with increased funding for their implementation and a clear mandate for charging zones in the most polluted cities.
  4. Urgently accelerate funding in support of the shift to zero emissions transport, implementing policies that incentivise low emission vehicles and disincentivise the use of diesel (eg effective scrappage schemes for diesel vehicles and increased taxation on diesel fuels).
  5. By 2020, increase investment in active transport to at least £10 per capita and, in addition, promote safer road design and provide the infrastructure and necessary incentives to increase levels of walking, cycling and public transport use.


Air pollution progress report references 319.77 KB Uploaded: 26 March 2018