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Public call for UK law to reflect WHO air pollution limits

British public is in favour of action against air pollution, a YouGov poll has revealed

The survey, involving 2,000 adults, found 54% were in favour of strengthening the UK’s laws in line within the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for air pollution.

Moreover, 64% stated that they were in support of the creation of no-car-zones outside schools during pick up and drop-off times, regardless of convenience for parents.

57% said they supported government investment in making cycling and walking safer, 53% supporting the introduction of clean air zones that charge the most polluting vehicles to enter towns and cities.

‘This polling tells politicians we want our health to come before our convenience,’ commented Poppy Billington, director of UK100.

‘The public wants politicians to be ambitious on air pollution. The Government should put the world-class WHO air quality standards into law and our local authorities should commit to rolling out clean air zones and school streets.’

The poll also revealed that despite of public support for action on air pollution, the use of sustainable transport remains comparatively low. This effect has been worsened by the pandemic, with the 56% of commuters travelling by car prior to Covid-19 having risen as public transport usage had dropped. However, this has led to a rise in walking and cycling.

Harriet Edwards, senior policy and project manager for Air Quality, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, outlined that ‘as Covid-19 continues to spread, the importance of healthy lungs has never been more apparent.

‘We need to see urgent action from the government, including bolder air quality laws to reduce air pollution levels, and nationwide public health campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers.’