Vote for your right to clean air
Are you planning on voting in tomorrow’s EU elections? If not there is one issue that should shake you out of your apathy and into the polling booth:
Air pollution is one of the most serious public health risks facing us today, causing 29,000 premature deaths each year in the UK. The World Health Organization has confirmed that air pollution causes cancer. Poor air quality also causes heart attacks and children living near busy roads in the UK have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs.Tackling air pollution will not only save lives but will also improve quality of life for all of us, reduce the strain on the NHS and protect the natural environment.
But this isn’t a problem that Britain can solve by itself. Air pollution doesn’t respect national borders (a fact brought home by the toxic smog that shrouded most of the UK last month). We need to work with our European neighbours to clean up our air.
Whatever your views on the EU, it has a pretty good track record on the environment and air pollution in particular. Remember acid rain? That problem was solved largely because of EU policies that cut pollution from coal-fired power stations. We also have the EU to thank for cleaner beaches and safe drinking water.
The European Commission recently proposed new legislation intended to cut pollution emissions at source and deliver better air quality. However, in their current form the proposals would put off any meaningful targets until 2030 and condemn us to decades of dirty air, ill health and early deaths. They need to go further and faster to ensure that the air in towns and cities throughout the UK and the rest of the EU is fit to breathe.
However, this will face fierce opposition from hostile industries and national governments, who see only the costs of tackling pollution while ignoring the benefits. This means that we need MEPs who will lead the fight for clean air in Brussels. That is why we have asked all candidates to pledge to work to uphold our right to clean air if they get voted in.
See the list below of those who have signed-up so far. We’ll keep adding to the list over the next 24 hours, then after the elections we will focus on getting the newly elected MEPs to sign up.
So when you vote tomorrow, ask yourself who is most likely to fight for your right to clean air?
- Pippa Bartolotti, Wales (Green Party)
- Anneliese Dodds, South East (Labour)
- Bill Newton Dunn, East Midlands (Liberal Democrat)
- John Redfern, West Midlands (Liberal Democrat)
- Shirley Ford, North East (Green Party)
- Alison Whalley, North East (Green Party)
- Caroline Robinson, North East (Green Party)
- Linda McAvan, Yorkshire and Humber (Labour)
Are you a candidate for the European Elections? Find out how to get involved.