What are parties saying about clean air at this general election?

At the Healthy Air Coalition, we’ve been analysing each of the main political parties’ General Election manifestos, to understand their promises on air pollution.

We have looked at the pledges made by each party standing candidates in more than one nation of the UK for mentions of air pollution and measures that could clean up our air, or make it worse.

Read on for our analysis of each manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats
First it was the Liberal Democrat manifesto, who we were which we were pleased to see commits the Party to a new Clean Air Act, with new air quality targets based on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto also acknowledges the cost of air pollution to lives and the NHS, pledges to introduce an Air Quality Agency and to improve air quality in public buildings.

The Conservative Party
We were disappointed to see no mention of clean air in the Conservative Party manifesto. The Conservatives have pledged to reverse the expansion of the Ultra-Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London. This is disappointing, as the expanded zone aims to clean up air in Outer London, where we know that air pollution exceeds safe levels in all boroughs.

The Conservative manifesto also commits to a blanket ban on a number of traffic reduction and traffic-calming measures in areas across the UK. We would warn against the unintended impact these plans could have on air quality.

The Green Party
We were pleased to see the Green Party commit to pushing for a Clean Air Act that sets new air quality standards for the UK.

We also welcome their commitment to putting a right to breathe clean air into law. In addition, it is positive to see the Party consider increasing the number of walking and cycling journeys as an opportunity to clean up our air.

The Labour Party
We were disappointed to see no reference to clean air in the Labour Party manifesto. The emphasis the manifesto places on prevention of poor health is very welcome, but toxic air is the biggest environmental threat to health, so tackling it must be central to this agenda.

If the Labour Party forms the next government, we must see a renewed focus on clean air from the Party, including the introduction of a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century.