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Council declares its support for Clean Air Bill

The Leader of Lewes District Council will be writing to local MPs asking them to support a new law that would establish the right to breathe clean air.

Cllr Francomb LDC News Image

Cllr Francomb LDC News Image
The Leader of Lewes District Council will be writing to local MPs asking them to support a new law that would establish the right to breathe clean air.  

The move is part of a motion passed unanimously at Full Council last night (July 24) backing the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill -  known as Ella's Law - proposed by Councillor Becky Francomb and seconded by Councillor Isobel Sharkey.  

Councillor Francomb said: "I believe our residents have a right to breathe clear air and that we should define clean air not by what is easily achievable, but by the standards scientists say are safe. It is imperative that this bill, which enshrines the human right to breathe clean air in law, is passed in order to protect people's health and save lives. 

"Poor air quality poses a huge environmental risk in this country, with traffic being the main source of pollution locally. It is estimated that in East Sussex, around 3,000 life years are lost due to particulate pollution each year.  

"Clean air is so fundamental to human health and wellbeing that we might reasonably expect the government would follow the best scientific advice in adopting global standards for air quality. However, sadly this is not the case. 

"This bill would require the government to limit the concentration of air pollutants to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines which are more stringent than most UK limits. There would also be enhanced monitoring and reviewing of pollution limits. This action is urgently needed and supports our four-year goal, as a council, to achieve cleaner air."  

Under the motion, the council is also calling on the government to bring out a revised Air Quality Strategy which secures funding for local authorities to take action locally to address air quality issues year-on-year.  

In addition, the council's Policy and Performance Committee will consider and review the council's Air Quality Status Report annually. 

The Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill has been passed in the House of Lords and its second reading in the House of Commons is scheduled for December 15, 2023.  

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