Sustainable Energy

UK publishes draft air quality plan

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The U.K. government has published a draft strategy to boost air quality by cutting levels of nitrogen dioxide in the U.K.

In a news release on Friday, the government said that the options open for consultation had been designed to lessen the impact of diesel vehicles and speed up the transition to cleaner forms of transport.

The consultation is set to run until June 15, with the government then preparing a final plan for publication by the end of July.

Describing tackling poor air quality in all its forms as a "priority", the government said that its plan – along with devolved administrations – was to "transform the U.K.'s most polluted cities into clean and healthy urban spaces, supporting those most directly affected and ensuring that vehicle manufacturers play their part to improve the nation's air quality."

On the subject of diesel vehicles, the government said it would "continue to explore the appropriate tax treatment" for them and would engage with stakeholders before making any tax changes in the Autumn Budget 2017.

Air pollution is becoming a serious problem in the U.K.

A report last year said that exposure to outdoor air pollution was linked to roughly 40,000 deaths every year.

The report, a joint effort between the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians, said air pollution had been linked to cancer, asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

It added that damage would be inflicted "across a lifetime, from a baby's first weeks in the womb all the way through to the years of older age."