Friday, 22 February, 2019


Government to launch clean air strategy

Flood defences beside the Connswater River in east Belfast Flood threat to 45,000 Northern Ireland properties
Kristine Garrett | 17 January, 2019, 07:12

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has announced a crackdown on emissions from the home as part of a wider push to reduce people's exposure to particulate matter which is considered the most damaging pollutant.

The new National Environmental Health Profile study is going to be a collaborative effort with the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Board so the data can help control pollution.

"We must take strong, urgent action", environment minister Michael Gove said in a statement.

The proposed Clean Air Strategy will cut the costs of air pollution to society by £1.7 billion every year by 2020, rising to £5.3 billion every year from 2030.

"Thousands of lives are lost every year in the United Kingdom because the air we breathe contains unsafe particles", said Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, adding the strategy need matching with legislative action. 'Our ambitious strategy includes new targets, new powers for local government and confirms that our forthcoming Environment Bill will include new primary legislation on air quality.

Under the new strategy the government will provide farmers with support to invest in infrastructure and equipment to reduce emissions and will work with industry to encourage low emission, holistic farming techniques.

Britain is also taking action to reduce air pollution from agriculture which is responsible for 88 percent of ammonia emissions.

Bangkok's air has become a "serious threat" to health as the levels of pollution caused by a smog cloud over the city soared and was in some parts eight times higher than safe level.

A government spokesman said junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered related agencies to inform people of the danger of ultrafine particles after Bangkok's air quality this past weekend again fell to "unhealthy" levels.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "We welcome this Clean Air Strategy as a step in the right direction. Action to protect people's health must be a requirement, not a 'nice to have"'.

"In particular, it's good to see it includes proposals to improve access to air pollution information, something numerous patients we support ask for".

"The authorities still do not realise the real dangers of air pollution, as they are very unlike imminent threats to people such as disasters and diseases, which can kill people instantly", Rungsrit said.

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