Air quality targets lack ambition

Defra has set new targets and an ‘ambitious’ plan for nature recovery and to increase air quality.

The new, long-term environmental targets, announced by the Government, are a cornerstone of its Environment Act which passed into law in November last year covering air quality, water and the diversity of our wildlife.

Air quality targets have been set to reduce exposure to the most harmful air pollutant to human health – PM2.5 – by over a third compared to 2018 levels in the next 18 years. World Health Organisation guidelines currently set a limit of half the particulate matter the Government proposes to reach by 2040.

British Safety Council chief executive, Mike Robinson, said: “Air pollution remains the biggest environmental health risk affecting our health so it’s disappointing to see the Government showing a lack of ambition in proposing a target for concentrations of fine particles in our air that should have been met in 2005, not 2040.”

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