SERA National Secretary Melanie Smallman has been busy campaigning to convince DEFRA and the Conservative Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, to drop their plans to scrap local air quality monitoring. Air pollution causes thousands of premature deaths in this country every year, affecting deprived communities most. With the UK breaching EU law several times this year, and new figures showing the extent of air pollution in London and beyond, monitoring air quality so that the authorities take proper action has never been more important.
Dear Secretary of State for the Environment,I and almost 600 signatories, would like to object to your proposals to change arrangements for local air quality management.Unfortunately, we found your consultation questionnaire to be wordy and technical and so instead of responding to that, we have gathered signatures in a petition that lays out your proposals and our concerns more clearly. We hope that you will accept the nearly 600 signatures to this petition as strong evidence that when explained clearly, there is considerable opposition to your proposals.I have pasted the wording of the petition below, but if you would like to read some of the comments that have been added, explaining why signatories are concerned with your plans, you can see them at: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/secretary-of-state-for-environment-food-and-rural-affairs-drop-plans-to-scrap-or-reduce-local-air-quality-management-2Yours sincerely,Melanie SmallmanNational Secretary, SERA.
Dear Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
Last year, approximately 29,000 premature deaths in the UK were caused by poor air quality. The air we breathe is now the biggest public health risk after smoking.
The UK’s current arrangements for air quality monitoring produce detailed and comprehensive measures and records of pollution and are essential for a number of reasons:
- This information allows those most affected by airborne pollution to take appropriate action to minimise the impact on days when pollution is highest
- It allows you as Secretary of State, to measure and monitor the impact of any policies designed to improve air quality and to identify and implement those which are most effective, in the areas where they are most needed – if you don’t measure pollution you will have no idea what works
- The long-term nature of the current monitoring procedures creates a longitudinal data set which is, and will be, of immense scientific value. Breaking the monitoring arrangements now will irrevocably destroy this dataset
- There is a legal EU obligation to operate a monitoring network and to improve local air quality
We would therefore like to strongly oppose the proposals you are currently putting forward to scrap or reduce local air quality management and ask that you will consider this petition in the responses to your current consultation on the matter.