Should public transport be free to cut shocking air pollution?

ktGreen MEP Keith Taylor has suggested public transport should be free to cut shocking air pollution after Parisian authorities make public transport free due to smog

Keith Taylor is calling on local authorities to consider making public transport free this weekend in response to a wave of air pollution hitting the South of England.

Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP, is making the calls as the UK, and his constituency in particular, suffer a second day of high levels of air pollution. His call follows the decision by Paris’ authorities to make public transport free this weekend because of air pollution.

Mr Taylor said:

“I’m urging local authorities in areas hit by air pollution to do all they can to cut the health risks of this smog. In Paris the authorities are making public transport free as they recognise the dangers of high levels of air pollution.

Local authorities must do everything in their power to cut the air pollution levels, and in this emergency situation they should consider ways to make public transport free so as to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

It’s particularly crucial that the Mayor of London and the council’s in South East England look at acting immediately on the smog hitting their areas.”

According to the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the current levels of air pollution in South East England are ‘high’ and are expected to remain so for the rest of the day. The rest of the UK is also forecast to experience ‘high’ levels of air pollution today.

At this level of pollution Government advice states that:

“Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.”

Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England and a clean air campaigner, went on to say:

“This smog episode poses a serious threat to my constituents and I urge everyone, especially those with health problems, to follow Government guidelines in order to keep safe.

The fact is that we shouldn’t be needing ‘emergency measures’ to cut air pollution, we should be working to cut levels permanently.

This episode highlights the fact that we simply aren’t doing enough on air pollution in the UK. Every year nearly 30,000 people die prematurely because of air pollution – yet the issue isn’t taken nearly as seriously as it should be.

“People in my constituency with health problems are being forced to stay indoors and avoid exercise exposes. This exposes the fact that much more needs to be done by the Government and local councils to cut pollution levels. We know that most air pollution is caused by road vehicles and local councils need to work to reduce the amount of traffic in our city centres.

Nobody should be forced to stay indoors because of air pollution. That’s why we need to cut the amount of motorised vehicles, particularly those using diesel, on our city centre roads and move towards cleaner transport solutions.”

South East England hit by ‘smog’

Green MEP responds to pollution alert in his constituency

Levels of air pollution in South East England are so high that people’s health is likely to be affected, according to Government monitoring.

According to the Daily Air Quality Index, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affiairs (DEFRA), air pollution in South East England is at ‘level 8’, or ‘high’.  At this level of pollution Government advice states that:

“Adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion.”

According to the DEFRA website levels of air pollution in urban areas are at level 9 – just one point off the worst possible level.

Currently the highest levels of one pollutant, know as PM2.5, in South East England are:

Eastbourne – Level 10

Storrington – Level 9

Portsmouth – Level 8

Chatham – Level 8

Oxford – Level 7

DEFRA only monitors a few locations but the general pollution for South East England level is at 8. Continue reading

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Government flooding response ‘utterly inadequate’

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Government flooding response ‘utterly inadequate’ says MEP
Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP for South East England, labelled the Government’s response to the flooding as ‘inadequate’ and called for the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, to be sacked by David Cameron.
He said:
“My heart goes out to the victims of these floods in my constituency and I sincerely hope they are getting all the assistance they need in these very difficult times.
The Government’s planning for this flooding, and their response since it began, has been utterly inadequate. We have known for a long time that climate change will cause more events like this, yet we were utterly underprepared for these devastating floods.
Though individual weather events can’t be explicitly linked to climate change the evidence suggests that we can expect more of this kind of extreme weather in the future.
If the Government is serious about tackling flooding in the future than they must both work to develop flood defences and, crucially, do everything in their power to cut our addiction to climate changing fossil fuels.
The fact is that the Government’s Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has cut funding on measures aimed at protecting Britain from global warming and he repeatedly fails to take climate change seriously.
In the short term the Government can do two things to help the fight against flooding. Firstly they should reverse cuts to the Environment Agency and secondly they should sack Owen Paterson, an Environment Secretary who just isn’t up to the job of protecting our environment.”
Mr Taylor call for Owen Paterson be sacked comes after he was accused by environmental groups of ‘incompetency’ after slashing spending on measures to help Britain cope with global warming.