A call for action on air pollution!

Like climate change, air pollution is an “invisible” problem that is given too little priority by our decision makers.  It causes around 500 premature deaths in Sheffield every year, plus a huge amount of other illness. Meanwhile, we go on building things that will make it worse, with the M1 shortly to move to four-lane operation in the Tinsley area.
SCA is joining the call for a new Air Quality Action Plan – you can help by signing this petition on Change.org that will be presented at the Sheffield City Council meeting on 5 April.
SCA’s meeting on Tuesday 21 March will hear from Air Pollution campaigners and give a chance for your questions. Here, Chris Broome tells us about the background on air pollution in Sheffield:
In 2014, Sheffield Council’s submission to a Highways Agency consultation opposed a 60mph speed limit on the M1 in South Yorkshire, designed to reduce air pollution.  This was despite earlier public statements that they would support it, in accordance with their Air Quality Action Plan. The Highways Agency decided not to introduce the measure, with 97% of respondents (mainly drivers!) opposed.
Now , with the Government, and possibly the City Council, under threat of heavy fines by the EU, Highways England is seriously considering introducing the 60mph limit anyway.
Also in 2014, the new IKEA in Tinsley was approved, despite it being found to raise already illegal pollution levels, because of the extra car journeys it would generate.
Business Green has commented on the Chancellor’s recent Budget:
“… [Hammond] announced a number of moves that are likely to be welcomed by green businesses, including reforms to … step up support for ultra-low emission vehicles.”
“Specifically, he announced a £690m competition for local authorities to tackle urban congestion that could help improve air quality and pledged £270m of funding to help further develop ‘disruptive’ technologies in biotech, robotic systems and driverless cars.”
And Business Green described the Labour response:
“… responding to the Budget in the Commons, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked Hammond for his neglect to mention climate change, as well as the government’s failure to tackle air pollution, which he called a “public health crisis”.
He said the Chancellor had “failed to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority” and slammed the lack of any commitment to establish zero carbon standards on new buildings.
“One of the biggest challenges facing this country is environmental – it is climate change,” said Corbyn. “This government is failing to lead – failing to drive a mission-led industrial strategy, as our own Business select committee has recommended.”