A cross-party parliamentary committee has stated that air pollution is the largest environmental risk to UK health and has started an inquiry into air quality. Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore, who is one of the MP's on the Committee, is calling on constituents to respond to the inquiry ahead of the decision by the Environment Agency on whether to grant an environmental permit for the proposed incinerator at Marley in which the agency is ‘minded to approve’ the application.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee launched an inquiry into air quality today (Friday), as they described the Covid-19 crisis as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to reduce pollution. The committee is looking at how the UK can emerge from the crisis economically, while still maintaining the low levels of air pollution created by a fall in economic activity. It is also seeking to assess the impact of poor air quality on disadvantaged communities and other ‘at-risk’ groups.
Robbie Moore argues that the campaign to prevent an industrial waste incinerator in his constituency links in directly with the aims of the committee’s inquiry into air quality. Campaigners say that air pollution in the area around the proposed site could have a serious detrimental impact on the health and well-being of residents.
On the launch of the EFRA Committee Inquiry, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish, who chairs the EFRA committee said:
“In the UK, there are roughly 40,000 early deaths each year linked to outdoor air pollution. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, this issue was vastly overlooked. It has now been two years since we called on the Government to urgently address this crisis. Since then, we've seen the introduction of a new Clean Air Strategy and Environment Bill, but it's crucial that these frameworks are both enforceable and ambitious.
"Disadvantaged communities are affected far worse by air pollution than anyone else and recently we've seen just how serious underlying health problems can be. The pandemic is threatening to push back some of the crucial work planned for addressing poor air quality, when it is clear that it should instead be a once-in-a-lifetime catalyst for action.”
Robbie Moore expanded on this, saying:
“Air pollution is clearly a killer, and it may put people at higher risk of catching other deadly diseases such as Covid-19, meaning we should do all we can to reduce air pollution.
“I’m glad the EFRA committee recognises the need to reduce air pollution but I can’t stay silent while the Environment Agency recommends the approval of a waste incinerator in my constituency, next to homes, playing fields and schools in close proximity. The risk to younger, older and more vulnerable people is just too great.”
The proposal to grant a permit for the incinerator are still out to public consultation.
Residents have until July 29th to submit their views on the Aire Valley Incinerator, and these can be submitted to the Environment Agency here: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/psc/bd21-4lw-endless-energy-limited-epr-zp3537at/.
Written evidence to the ERFA Committee Inquiry on Air Quality can be made here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/362/air-quality/.