Parliament

Road air quality is not a topic going away any time soon. Road transport accounts for one third of all NOx emissions. The European Environment Agency estimates that road transport contributes to about 70% for nitrogen dioxide, and 30% for particulate matter. This poses an increasing risk to public health and wellbeing: particularly under recent circumstances where a link has been made between a higher mortality rate in areas of air pollution.

This page is dedicated to questions surrounding road air quality raised in parliament, most notably by Barry Sheerman MP, who leads this commission.


On 13 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: What steps he is taking to help improve the quality of local GP practices.

Jo Churchill responded: In January 2019 a five-year framework for general practitioner (GP) contract reform was agreed to implement the commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan, including care quality and outcomes improvement.

In 2020 we also committed at least an additional £1.5 billion for general practice until 2023 to support our commitment to recruit 26,000 extra staff to support GPs and ensure patients have better access to a wider range of health professionals.

We have also made an additional investment of an extra £4.5 billion a year by 2023/24 in primary and community care.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage universities to introduce air health education into relevant degree programmes.

Michelle Donelan responded:

Education regarding air quality is a very important matter, and I expect our world leading higher education (HE) providers to respond to student interest and consider potential demand from employers for skills and knowledge, given the increasing importance of this issue. HE providers are autonomous and independent bodies, and it is the decision of providers what they teach.

The English Higher Education regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), provides grant funding to support the teaching of high-cost subjects, which includes medical and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Further details can be found here: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/skills-and-employment/supporting-stem-subjects/.

The Strategic Priorities Grant (formerly the HE Teaching Grant) will play an important role in supporting providers and students to develop the skills and knowledge needed locally, regionally, and nationally to support the economy. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, has asked the OfS to reform the grant for the 2021-22 financial year, to ensure more of taxpayers’ money is spent on supporting higher education provision which aligns with national priorities, such as healthcare, STEM and other subjects meeting specific labour market needs.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with long-term asthma are not impacted by high levels of air pollution.

Rebecca Pow responded: We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact of air pollution on people who are suffering from long-term asthma.

Rebecca Pow responded: We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to minimise the impact of air pollution on children’s development

Rebecca Pow: We know air pollution is a particular threat to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the very young and those with existing health conditions such as asthma. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources.

The Environment Bill will establish a duty to set two legally binding targets on PM 2.5: a minimum concentration limit and a new population exposure reduction target. We will consult on these targets in early 2022. These two targets will drive action at the local level, as well as nationally, to improve air quality for everyone.

In addition, we have committed to reviewing the National Air Quality Strategy (including the Local Air Quality Management Framework) with a key objective of promoting and supporting greater local action to identify and address air pollution inequalities, targeting action at vulnerable groups and communities.

The Government is also committed to improving public awareness of air pollution and to improve the provision of air quality data and information on the UK Air website. We have started a comprehensive review of the Daily Air Quality Index, to enhance the advice when pollution levels are elevated.

The Department of Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges. Furthermore, the NHS has a Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short- and long-term adverse effects of air pollution on children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a scheme to financially incentivise fleet companies to transition to zero-emission heavy goods vehicles.

Rachel Maclean: The Government is already providing £582 million to continue plug-in vehicle grants until 2022-23, including the plug-in truck grant. The plug-in truck grant reduces the purchase price of zero emission commercial vehicles. Grant rates for eligible trucks are set at 20% of the purchase price, with up to £25,000 of funding available for the largest HGVs. Decarbonisation of HGVs is at an earlier stage of development compared with cars and vans due to the different challenges of long-haul and heavy freight. To address this, we announced that we are investing £20 million this year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK. These will advance R&D in the technologies of hydrogen, catenary electric and battery electric HGVs allowing us to begin the commercial roll out of the new technology before the end of the decade. We keep all policies under review.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a compulsory sustainability component to the national curriculum.

Nick Gibb responded: Topics related to sustainability and the environment are covered in the National Curriculum. This National Curriculum is mandatory in all state maintained schools, whilst academies are required to follow a broad and balanced curriculum as exemplified by the National Curriculum. Teachers have the flexibility and freedom to determine how they deliver the content in the way that best meets the needs of their pupils and can choose to cover particular topics in greater depth if they wish.

Topics related to the climate, the environment and sustainability issues are covered in the science and geography curricula and GCSEs. In both subjects, at Key Stages 1 and 2, pupils are taught about seasons and habitats, as well as covering climate zones and how environments can change. Secondary geography includes study of the climate, how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In science at Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils study climate and ecosystems in biology and chemistry, including how human interaction with ecosystems impacts on biodiversity.

In 2017, the Department introduced a new environmental science A level. This will enable pupils to study topics that will support their understanding of climate change and how it can be tackled.

Pupils also cover content on the environment in citizenship education which has been a compulsory subject in maintained schools since 2002. Pupils are taught what improves and harms the environment, and how economic choices affect sustainability.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage the production of electrolytic hydrogen in the UK.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan responded: My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper demonstrate a clear commitment to hydrogen, setting an ambition to deliver 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, working alongside partners in industry.

The UK has expertise and assets to support both electrolytic and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) enabled hydrogen production. By enabling multiple low carbon production routes, we can drive cost effective supply volumes in the 2020s in line with our 2030 5GW ambition, whilst scaling up electrolytic hydrogen.

Support for multiple production routes has underpinned our innovation funding to date and is also part of our policy thinking. The forthcoming UK Hydrogen Strategy will set out what is required to build a hydrogen economy fit for 2030, Carbon Budget 6 and beyond, whilst maximising economic benefits. Alongside this, we will also consult on priority policies including a hydrogen business model, a low carbon hydrogen standard, and the £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund. These are designed to support multiple production technologies, including CCUS-enabled and electrolytic hydrogen, and will be targeted at projects that can deploy during the 2020s.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cars on the roads that are exceeding legal emission limits.

Rachel Maclean responded: The Government continues to work with a number of local authorities to deliver compliance with legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the shortest time possible. Local authorities are responsible for identifying the appropriate solution to achieve this, and in some areas this will require the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs). CAZs are designed to encourage drivers switch to cleaner vehicles or more sustainable modes of transport. Where a CAZ is needed, Government will work with local authorities to implement the zone and will provide funding to help local businesses/drivers adapt including support to upgrade vehicles.

In addition, most cars undergo an annual MOT test, which includes a tail pipe emissions test and specific checks of all visible and identifiable emissions control equipment. Vehicles that fail to meet the required limits for the fuel type and age of the vehicle, or where emissions control equipment fitted by the manufacturer is missing, obviously modified, or defective, will fail the test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also takes emissions control very seriously. Its Market Surveillance Unit investigates retailers and test stations to ensure that vehicles and products in the UK market meet the required standards.

In addition, the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations make various offences for using vehicles in ways that do not meet in-use standards. The potential penalties for failing to comply with these regulations are significant, with fines of up to £1,000 for a car.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the viability of the use of hydrogen fuel cell cars in Britain.

Rachel Maclean responded: Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. It is likely to be most effective in the areas ‘that batteries cannot reach’ and where energy density requirements or duty cycles and refuelling times make it the most suitable low carbon energy source. This might include use in HGVs, buses, rail, shipping and aviation.

The UK already has one of the largest hydrogen refuelling station networks in Europe, with fourteen publicly accessible stations that provide hydrogen suitable for use by cars, vans, trucks and buses. Government’s £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is supporting the deployment of hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles and growing the refuelling network by delivering new refuelling stations and upgrading some existing stations.

The £3m Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub is supporting hydrogen fuel cell vehicle deployments in the region and infrastructure investments by co-locating transport end-users with hydrogen production and refuelling. In addition, the Department for Transport’s £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Trials and the government’s 4,000 Zero Emission Buses commitment may also provide the potential for an increase in hydrogen refuelling stations within the UK, subject to future years spending.

In June, the Government announced £20 million for zero-emission vehicle competition winners to power up the electric vehicle transport revolution. The winning bids included projects supporting the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve air quality in urban areas.

Rachel Maclean responded: The government’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources. We have also put in place a £3.8 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

The government’s Environment Bill makes a clear commitment to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and enables local authorities to take more effective action to tackle air pollution in their areas. The Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons on 26 May and is now proceeding through the various Parliamentary stages in the Lords, with Royal Assent expected in the Autumn. In the meantime, key work on implementing the Bill’s measures is continuing at pace, including the work to set legally binding air quality targets.

These measures will help to clean up air faster and more effectively in our towns and cities.


On 7 July, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing the VAT rate for on-street electric car charging.

Jesse Norman responded: Electricity supplied at electric vehicle charging points in public places is subject to the standard rate of VAT (20 per cent). In order to keep costs down for families, the supply of electricity for domestic use, including charging electric vehicles at home, attracts the reduced rate of VAT (5 per cent).

Expanding the relief would come at a very high cost. VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising about £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps to fund public priorities including the NHS, schools, and defence. Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere.


On 14 June, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) other Cabinet colleagues on supporting businesses with vehicle fleets to invest in environmentally sustainable hydrogen infrastructure.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. This is why we are supporting its development and use today through a number of measures.

On 30 March the Department launched the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme which will provide up to £120 million for zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. The scheme could support the introduction of up to 500 zero emission buses and associated infrastructure. Local transport authorities will be able to apply for funding for hydrogen fuel cell buses or battery electric buses depending on which technology is best suited to their local area.

The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan announced £20m this year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is providing support to increase the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and expand hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Our £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is funding the deployment of around 300 hydrogen vehicles, 8 new refuelling stations and upgrades to 5 existing stations. We have also been supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters through the £2m FCEV Fleet Support Scheme.


On 14 June, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support businesses with vehicle fleets that are investing in environmentally-sustainable hydrogen infrastructure.

Hydrogen is likely to be fundamental to achieving the full decarbonisation of UK transport. This is why we are supporting its development and use today through a number of measures.

On 30 March the Department launched the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme which will provide up to £120 million for zero emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. The scheme could support the introduction of up to 500 zero emission buses and associated infrastructure. Local transport authorities will be able to apply for funding for hydrogen fuel cell buses or battery electric buses depending on which technology is best suited to their local area.

The Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan announced £20m this year in planning for zero emission road freight trials which will support UK industry to develop cost-effective, zero-emission HGVs and their refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is providing support to increase the uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles and expand hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Our £23m Hydrogen for Transport Programme is funding the deployment of around 300 hydrogen vehicles, 8 new refuelling stations and upgrades to 5 existing stations. We have also been supporting public and private sector fleets to become early adopters through the £2m FCEV Fleet Support Scheme.


Early Day Motion: Sustainability in national curriculum

That this House considers best practice from across the United Kingdom and globally in terms of integrating sustainability into the national curriculum; recognises that the environmental challenges that we face require young people across the United Kingdom to be made more aware of the threats from climate change, environmental degradation, resource scarcity and air quality and educated in how communities can play a role facing the challenges of the future; further recognises that the education of our young people in the subject area of sustainability will assist considerably in the transition to the ‘green economy’ of the future; urges the Government to undertake an urgent and far-reaching review into the benefits of embedding the subject area of sustainability into the national curriculum; and further urges the Government to take the steps essential to ensure that young people are made aware of the environmental challenges our planet faces and are fully prepared for the transition of our country to a radically different sustainable model.


On 13 April, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with fleet delivery companies on minimising the environmental impact of fleet delivery vehicles.

Minister Rebecca Pow responded: This Government is committed to tackling climate change, delivering our net zero commitment and improving our air quality across the UK.

Over the past year we have engaged with a broad range of stakeholders, including delivery companies, via multiple channels to seek views and evidence in support of the development of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP). The TDP will be published this Spring and will take a holistic and cross-modal approach to decarbonising the entire transport system, setting out a credible and ambitious pathway to cut emissions. One of the strategic priorities in the Plan will be to examine how we get our goods and the decarbonisation of “last mile” deliveries.


On 13 April, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the environment of fleet vehicles fitted with industrial refrigeration units.

Minister Rebecca Pow responded: Tailpipe emissions from vehicles which power transport refrigeration units are recorded as road traffic emissions in the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory. The data for road transport emissions is published annually and has been reported since 1990 onwards. The Government does not estimate emissions from transport refrigeration unit auxiliary engines as the available data are limited.

Defra commissioned research and is working with industry and sector experts to improve the evidence base on emissions from non-road mobile machinery emissions, including transport refrigeration units. As set out in the Clean Air Strategy, the Government is considering the options to reduce emissions from non-road mobile machinery, and this research will help ensure that we have a robust and accurate evidence base to consider policy options from.


On 24 March, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking with the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government to allocate funding to local authorities in order to (a) facilitate the implementation of Clean Air Zones and (b) promote better public health across local communities.

Minister Rachael Maclean responded: As a result of the 2017 NO2 Plan, a number of local authorities have been required to assess what action is needed to address NO2 exceedances in their area. This is supported by £880 million to develop and implement required measures such as Clean Air Zones (CAZs). We engage with MHCLG where needed.

The Clean Air Strategy set out a clear agenda for action to reduce people’s exposure to harmful pollutants and our priority is to implement the commitments we made. We will apply our understanding of the longer-term implications from these unprecedented changes in living and working patterns to delivering our environmental commitments, including our Clean Air Strategy and the air quality measures in the Environment Bill.


On 24 March, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to work together with the Treasury to improve Britain’s air quality.

Minister Rebecca Pow responded: Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010. Emissions of nitrogen oxides have fallen by 33% and are at their lowest level since records began. Defra Ministers regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Significant funding has been made available to address air pollution. In particular, we have put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and deliver cleaner transport. This includes:

  • £1.5 billion in funding to support charge point infrastructure and grants to support uptake of ultra-low emissions vehicles, which has now risen to £2.8 billion following subsequent funding announcements;
  • £1.2 billion for the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy to increase cycling and walking and make our roads safer for vulnerable users;
  • £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans.

We have also provided over £16 million since 2016 directly to local authorities through our LA grants programme to fund innovative projects that tackle localised air pollution more generally.


On 24 March, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to improve the UK’s global performance in mitigating harmful levels of air pollution through the introduction of economic incentives to increase the number of sustainable vehicles for personal and commercial use.

Minister Rachel Maclean responded: The Government committed £1.5 billion to support the early market and remove barriers to Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) ownership. We have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles. This includes:

  • £582m to incentivise the uptake of ultra low emission cars, vans, motorcycles and taxis to 2022/23.
  • £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure over the next four years, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.
  • Up to £1 billion to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains, including developing “Gigafactories” in the UK to produce the batteries needed at scale

Our grant schemes and the £400m Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will see thousands more electric vehicle charge-points installed across the UK.

Transitioning the new car and van market to ZEVs is vital if we are to meet our statutory commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Government is going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. This will also improve air quality in our towns and cities and support economic growth and position the UK at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution.


On 24 March, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to improve roadside air quality across the UK by incorporating diesel particulate filters during the MOT testing process.

Minister Rachel Maclean responded: The Department for Transport ensures good practice in the regulation of particulate matter emitted from vehicles by reviewing the best available evidence and commissioning research to inform future standards for new vehicles. This includes world-leading research commissioned by the Department to better understand emissions from brake and tyre wear, which is now estimated to account for the majority of particulate matter originating from road vehicles.

Checks for the proper functioning of diesel particulate filters already form part of the MOT test and are explicitly mentioned as an item to be checked in the MOT inspection manual. Where emission control equipment fitted by the manufacturer is missing, obviously modified or obviously defective, the vehicle should receive a “Major” failure and not pass the MOT test. Guidance on the implications of modifying a vehicle’s emissions system has been issued by the Department.

The Department has carried out research to assess whether new measurement equipment could be used to improve the assessment of emissions within the MOT test and roadside checks. This included equipment for detection of removed or damaged diesel particulate filters. Results of this research will be considered for any future changes to the MOT emissions test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conducts roadside enforcement inspections nationally using specialist equipment to detect manipulations to vehicle systems and components. A driver using a vehicle on a public road where the diesel particulate filter has been removed may be issued with a prohibition or fixed penalty. Furthermore, the Market Surveillance Unit, within the DVSA, may prosecute a company or individual that carries out an emissions tampering service such as removal of a diesel particulate filter for vehicles used on the road.


On 24 March, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) all UK-registered vehicles have an in-tact diesel particulate filter and (b) the UK ensures good practice in the regulation of particulate matter emitted from vehicles.

Minister Rachel Maclean responded: The Department for Transport ensures good practice in the regulation of particulate matter emitted from vehicles by reviewing the best available evidence and commissioning research to inform future standards for new vehicles. This includes world-leading research commissioned by the Department to better understand emissions from brake and tyre wear, which is now estimated to account for the majority of particulate matter originating from road vehicles.


On 24 March, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme data is made publicly available to ensure that local insights are provided in order to mitigate roadside air pollution.

Minister Rachel Maclean responded: The Department for Transport will publish new quarterly experimental official statistics on grants awarded under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, with the first publication scheduled for 20 May 2021. This will include numbers of grant-funded chargepoint installations broken down by Local Authority and postcode district.


On 8th February, the Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality addressed a letter to Rishi Sunak concerning HVO fuel and our national air pollution.

The Commission highlighted that Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a direct substitute for diesel with no modifications to the diesel engine required. It has the potential to reduce carbon emissions on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 90 per cent, as well as up to 29 per cent on NO2, and 85 per cent in Total Particulate Matter (TPM), according to independent tests. Therefore, the Commission asked how the Treasury could support HVO and the tackle the HVO pump price being higher than diesel, a barrier to its widespread adoption.

The Commission is await a response.


On 1st February 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Highways England on tackling roadside air pollution.

Rachael Maclean answered: We work closely with Ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and right across Government to drive forward our ambitious plans to improve air quality. The Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambitious programme of action to reduce air pollution from a wide range of sources including road transport. Alongside this, Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to specifically tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.


On 1st February 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the engagement of businesses which specialise in delivery on minimising their fleet’s contribution to roadside air pollution across the UK.

Rachael Maclean answered: Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving, including the newly announced 2030 phase out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this innovation programme.

Data from the government’s national air quality model is used to assess the contribution of emissions from commercial vehicles to total emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter at the roadside. We have not conducted a specific assessment of emissions from supermarket deliveries.

Building on the commitments set out in the WHO-commended Clean Air Strategy (CAS), the Government has introduced air quality measures in the landmark Environment Bill. The CAS sits alongside extensive action that has been taken to reduce harmful emissions from road transport.


On 1st February 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that supermarket retailers minimise the roadside air pollution caused by their vehicles.

Rachael Maclean answered: Highways England has undertaken a programme of work to improve air quality on the Strategic Road Network (SRN), in the first Road Investment Strategy (RIS1) and RIS2, and has published its own air quality strategy at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/634933/N160081_Air_Quality_Strategy_Final_V18.pdf.

This programme has included monitoring the effectiveness of tall barriers and running an open competition to gather ideas from a wide range of organisations.

To support the mitigation of air quality issues, Highways England has invested £12.5 million of its Air Quality Designated Funding with authorities in Leeds, Coventry, Kent, Nottingham, Sheffield and Bristol to implement an electric van scheme to support the uptake of zero emissions vans. Schemes in Leeds, Coventry, Kent and Nottingham are now operating and will be followed by Sheffield and Bristol.


On 26th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP spoke on the delay of the Environment Bill to the House of Commons:


On 13th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to provide support to local authorities for ensuring that air quality on the routes of refuse collectors across local authorities is monitored; and what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on further support for local authorities with refuse fleets with air quality monitors.

Rebecca Pow answered: The Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) regime requires that local authorities assess air quality in their area and take appropriate steps when an issue is identified.

The siting of air quality monitors is determined by local authorities in light of local conditions and in line with our statutory guidance. Defra provides guidance and support to local authorities to assist them in meeting these LAQM responsibilities. In addition, Defra has a national network of air quality monitors, the ‘Automatic Urban and Rural Network’ (AURN), currently comprising 270 sites across the UK. The number and positioning of AURN monitoring sites is in accordance with criteria set out in Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010.

Local authorities receive grant in aid to cover their local air quality management duties. Defra’s air quality grant programme provides additional funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution.

In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments, including the Department for Transport.



On 13th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on providing support to primary schools for air quality level monitoring.

Rebecca Pow answered: In delivering against our ambitious air quality commitments, Defra regularly holds discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments.

Local authorities have statutory duties to review and assess local air quality and, where appropriate, declare Air Quality Management Areas and put in place action plans to address local pollution issues. Defra provides guidance and support to local authorities on local monitoring.

Positioning of local monitors is determined by local authorities and expected to be in line with national and local priorities, which may include schools and other locations where there is high risk of public exposure to air pollutants.

Local authorities are expected to cover the costs of their monitoring through their Grant in Aid funding allocation. In addition, over £1 million of Defra’s 2018/19 Air Quality Grant was reserved for local authorities to pilot and evaluate low cost sensors, including £180,000 which was awarded to Islington Borough Council, Slough Borough Council and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council to undertake projects focused on monitoring air quality in and around schools.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that people working in (a) early years and (b) other childcare settings are a priority for covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccine(s) the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them.

The JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. This prioritisation captures almost all preventable deaths from COVID-19.

In the next phase of the vaccine rollout, the JCVI have asked that the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) consider occupational vaccination in collaboration with other government departments. The Department for Education is working with DHSC and Public Health England to ensure that the education and childcare workforce is considered for prioritisation in the roll out of the vaccine.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that school children are not affected by poor air quality; and what steps his Department has taken to deploy air quality monitors in primary schools.

Local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures need to be taken to improve air quality, including whether to deploy air quality monitors in primary schools.

In 2018, the Department published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the importance of (a) air quality and (b) the associated health effects of air pollution are being taught in schools.

There is scope within the geography and science curriculums, and within PSHE, for teachers and schools to teach these topics.

In geography, the purpose of study is to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, and at Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught to “understand how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate” and also the topic of “population and urbanisation”. This is further built upon at GCSE.

In science, pupils in primary schools are taught topics such as changing environments, plants, and different sorts of materials, which will enable them to understand about pollution later on. In the biology content at Key Stage 3, pupils should be taught about “Relationships in an ecosystem” and “how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic materials”. At GCSE, teaching in the sciences continues with the process of building upon and deepening scientific knowledge and the understanding of ideas developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Within chemistry, pupils should be taught about “potential effects of, and mitigation of, increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate; and common atmospheric pollutants: sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulates and their sources”.

The Government wants to support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe and has introduced compulsory health education in all primary and secondary state funded schools. The focus of health education is on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. The Department has published a package of support to help all teachers increase their confidence and quality of teaching, including in relation to teaching health and prevention and physical health and fitness. The support is available on a one stop page for teachers on GOV.UK and includes access to training delivered through regional Teaching School networks.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to ensure that local authorities are prioritising the elimination of air pollution.

We are continuing to deliver our ambitious plans to improve air quality. To tackle local NO2 exceedances, we are providing £880 million to help local authorities develop and implement local air quality plans and to support those impacted by these plans. We have supported the retrofit of over 3,000 buses with cleaner engines and agreed go live dates for clean air zones in Bath and Birmingham. We are committed to ensuring that local authorities have access to a wide range of options as they develop plans to address roadside pollution in a way that meets the needs of their communities.

In addition, through the Environment Bill we are improving cooperation within the Local Air Quality Management framework to widen the range of bodies that play a role in improving local air quality, including neighbouring local authorities and relevant public bodies, ensuring action is taken by all key players to tackle pollution sources and to improve air quality locally.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that climate crisis resolutions passed by local authorities are followed by action across communities to make them more sustainable in terms of air quality.

It is for local authorities to determine the specific actions they take in the context of climate crisis resolutions they have made. However, in our Local Air Quality Management statutory guidance we are clear that local authorities should ensure that all parts of a local authority are working effectively together to improve air quality. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to review and assess local air quality, and to take action where a local exceedance of statutory local air quality standards and objectives is identified. Where no such exceedance has been identified we nonetheless recommend local authorities develop local air quality strategies.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the air quality in each local authority area; and whether his Department prioritises funding for mitigation of poor air quality based on that assessment.

Local authorities are required to review and assess local air quality. If their assessment shows that local pollution levels exceed, or are likely to exceed, local air quality objectives they must declare an Air Quality Management Area and develop an Air Quality Action Plan with the aim of reducing air pollution to within statutory limits.

Local authorities receive grant in aid to cover their local air quality management duties. Defra’s air quality grant programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution. Particular consideration is given to applications that can demonstrate they will benefit local areas where there are, or are projected to be, pollutant exceedances. The Government has awarded over £64 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997.

The Government has put in place a £3.8 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions. Clean Air Zones will deliver targeted action in air pollution hot spots to improve air quality, to improve health and support economic growth in the urban environment, encouraging the replacement of old, polluting vehicles with modern, cleaner technologies, such as ultra-low emission vehicles.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of MOT testing on vehicle emissions on air quality.

Specific analysis relating to the impact of the MOT test on air quality has not recently been conducted by the Department. Emission limits for vehicles undergoing MOT testing have previously been set at a European level, most recently by Directive 2014/45/EU. These regulations were transposed into UK law by the Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.


On 11th January 2021, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking with supermarket leaders to help ensure that supermarket vehicle fleets are sustainable.

We recognise the important role large fleet operators have to play as we transition to zero emission driving. The Government plans to consult on phasing out the sale of new diesel heavy goods vehicles and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this.

The Government’s £20m Low Emission Freight Trials funded a series of R&D projects aimed at encouraging the widespread introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK fleets. Retailers including Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Tesco and John Lewis were all part of this programme to cut emissions and improve air quality by focusing on emissions-busting technologies for trucks and vans.

The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.


On 16th December 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the effect of (a) ambient air pollution and (b) exhaust emissions on refuse collectors.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates work-related health and safety in Great Britain. Employers, including Local Authorities (LAs), have existing duties under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 to manage health risks where workers may be exposed to hazardous substances as a result of work. The Regulations are supported by Workplace Exposure Limits (WELS) for substances hazardous to health. These will inform an employer’s assessment and management of risk from exhaust emissions and pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide that can give rise to Occupational Lung Diseases (OLD).

Low emissions vehicles have only recently become available and HSE is aware that a number of LAs are assessing their economic and environmental benefits. HSE’s remit does not include environmental pollution and HSE does not incentivize or encourage transition to low-emission vehicles. The responsibility for air quality is a devolved matter. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has responsibility for meeting limits in England and co-ordinates assessment and air quality plans for the UK as a whole.

Tackling OLDs as a result of exposure to hazardous substances at work is one of HSE’s health priorities. HSE works with a broad range of stakeholders including trade associations, employers, trade unions, third sector and professional bodies to reduce the incidence rate of OLDs.


On 10th December 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the right hon. Member for East Hampshire, representing the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body, what steps he is taking to mitigate the effect of the parliamentary restoration and renewal project on roadside air pollution in London. 

The Restoration and Renewal Programme is currently creating its business case. Part of this work, once the preferred option has been agreed, will be an environmental assessment on both the construction phase and operations of the restored buildings, where impacts will be assessed and mitigations proposed. The Programme is committed to sustainability and to meeting its environmental obligations.


On 8th December 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Wincanton, Royal Mail, DHL, XPO Logistics, FedEx and UPS on their capacity to improve the sustainability of their vehicle fleets.   

Ministers and officials have periodic meetings with fleet operators about a range of issues. The Government recognises the scope for fleets to be at the vanguard of the transition to zero emission driving and we will continue to work with fleet operators towards this. The Government has to date already committed £1.5 billion to support the early market for greener cars and vans through various grant funding schemes which fleet operators are able to take advantage of. The Government has announced phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. To facilitate this we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.


On 2nd December 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with the Royal College of General Practitioners on the effect of poor air quality on public health.

The Department has engaged with the Royal Medical Colleges frequently. For example, the Chief Medical Officer has engaged with the Royal College Presidents on a fortnightly basis since January 2020 to share information and brief them on our health priorities. More specifically the Department, through Public Health England (PHE), held discussions with the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health about the effects of indoor air quality on health whilst developing the report ‘The inside story: Health effects of indoor air quality on children and young people’, published in January 2020 and was a named co-author.

PHE also previously held discussions with the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health about the effects of poor air quality on health whilst developing the report ‘Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution’, published in February 2016 and was a named co-author.


On 27th November 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to support fleet delivery companies to switch to (a) electric or (b) hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.

The transition to zero emission vehicles will help to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, contribute to reducing poor air quality and contribute to economic growth in the UK by providing skilled jobs in the automotive sector. Our approach to delivering our long-term ambitions for greener transport is technology neutral and we are supporting hydrogen where the market favours its use.

As part of publishing the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government announced that we will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and that all new cars and vans will be fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035. To support the transition, we announced an accompanying support package of £2.8 billion. This includes £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid chargepoints on motorways and major roads, and installing more on-street chargepoints near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

In addition to grant schemes to install chargepoints at the workplace and at home, fleet delivery companies and their employees can also take advantage of our Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Fleet Support Scheme, which has supported both public and private sector fleets to become early adopters of hydrogen cars and vans. The Government has also put in place a favourable tax regime that rewards the cleanest vehicles, including company fleets.


On 25th November 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what conversations he has had with the Secretary of State for Education regarding air quality and its incorporation into the national curriculum.

Air pollution poses the biggest environmental threat to public health and improving air quality remains a top priority for the Government. In delivering against our challenging air quality commitments, we regularly hold discussions with Ministers and officials across Government departments, including the Department for Education. We have had no specific discussions on the incorporation of air quality within the national curriculum.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant Scheme has provided funding to local authorities to undertake projects focused on schools. Last year’s scheme awarded nearly £500,000 to Blaby District Council, East Sussex County Council, Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority and Wokingham Borough Council to undertake education and awareness projects in schools to encourage behaviour change such as active travel.


On 9th September 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that upcoming legislative proposals protect air quality.

Answer: This Government takes its air quality obligations seriously and the world-leading Clean Air Strategy, published in January 2019, sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of Government to improve air quality for everyone.

The Environment Bill delivers key parts of this Strategy. It introduces a duty to set a legally-binding target for fine particulate matter concentrations, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health, alongside a duty to set a further long-term air quality target. It also ensures that local authorities have a clear framework and simple to use powers to address air quality in their areas; and provides government with new powers to enforce environmental standards for vehicles.

Alongside this, the Bill will include a UK Environmental Protections policy which will allow for greater transparency and strengthened scrutiny by Parliament regarding future environmental legislation, including on air quality.


On 7th September 2020, Barry Sheerman MP raised: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure local authorities make (a) young and (b) vulnerable people within their area aware of the health risks of air pollution.

Answer: Through the statutory Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework, local authorities are required to assess air quality in their area and prepare an Annual Status Report providing a summary of the state of local air quality, associated health impacts and the progress on actions the local authority is taking to improve air quality. LAQM statutory guidance requires the local authority to make these reports available to the public and local stakeholders through their website.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant scheme provides funding to local authorities and supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit local communities, including campaigns to promote greater air quality awareness.

In the Environment Bill we are mandating a regular cycle of reviews for the Air Quality Strategy, and this will provide an opportunity to outline measures focused on protecting those most vulnerable to air pollution.Question: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities are making people aware of air quality levels in their areas.
Answer: 

Through the statutory Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework, local authorities are required to assess air quality in their area and prepare an Annual Status Report providing a summary of the state of local air quality, associated health impacts and the progress on actions the local authority is taking to improve air quality. LAQM statutory guidance requires the local authority to make these reports available to the public and local stakeholders through their website.

Defra’s Air Quality Grant scheme provides funding to local authorities and supports schemes which help councils develop and implement measures to benefit local communities, including campaigns to promote greater air quality awareness.

In the Environment Bill we are mandating a regular cycle of reviews for the Air Quality Strategy, and this will provide an opportunity to outline measures focused on protecting those most vulnerable to air pollution.


On 2nd July 2020, Barry Sheerman MP asked whether the government will implement a mandatory sustainable transport plan for every local authority.

‘Whether the Government plan to make a sustainable transport plan implementation strategy mandatory for every local authority.’

In response, Rachael Maclean, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, cited the emergency active travel grant. Yet, Maclean did not directly respond to Sheerman’s question of whether she would ‘support our new commission on road air quality?’:

‘I assure the hon. Gentleman that I completely share his desire to do things faster than they have been done to date. We have brought forward the e-scooter trials, which will see e-scooters being rolled out in Tees Valley and across the country to immediately harness the benefits of the green air that we are seeing as a result of the pandemic lockdown situation. A whole host of other measures are coming onstream, all backed up by £2 billion of Government support for active travel including cycling and walking. We will continue to work on this through our transport decarbonisation plan.’


On 30th June 2020, Barry Sheerman MP for Hudderfield posed a question of air conditioning in motor vehicles to the Department for Transport:

‘To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that drivers are protected from poor air quality by adequate vehicle filtration systems.’

Rachel Maclean, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, responded:

‘The Government is determined to improve air quality and the Department’s officials are engaging with international expert groups, who are developing measurement procedures for vehicle interior air quality. There are currently no legislative requirements for vehicle cabin air filtration systems however some manufacturers install higher efficiency air filtration systems.’


On 11th October 2018, Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, responded to John Hayes, MP for South Holland and The Deepings, who asked how the department was supporting the transition to electric vehicles.

Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, intervened and cited the benefits of having electric refuse collection vehicles. He outlined how the ‘waste trucks that pick up waste from every house in every part of our country every week are polluting vehicles’. Sheerman highlighted the ‘really good opportunity for a win’, with Dennis Eagle now producing a battery-operated waste truck as a way to decrease pollution in cities.

Grayling agreed with Sheerman, and admitted that he was unaware of this electric vehicle being produced. The Secretary of State for Transport acknowledged Sheerman’s comments and went on to say, ‘if we are going to meet air quality challenges, we need to make the kind of change he describes’.