Commenting on the Government’s Air Quality Plan, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Lewisham Deptford, Bobby Dean, said:
“Air pollution is a big worry for people in Lewisham – and with good reason. Our borough has some of the highest concentrations of dangerous particulates in the country.
“This is bad for everyone who lives here, but especially those with existing health conditions, the elderly and the young. More and more parents are raising concerns with me about the air breathed in by their children outside schools.
“Those people, and the rest of us, have been let down by the Government’s new Air Quality Plan. It was already disheartening that it took a court battle to force this document from Theresa May and her ministers. It’s even worse that it does so little to tackle the problem.
“The Plan’s headline policy, a ban on the sale of diesel and petrol cars in 2040, falls far short of the action needed to help people suffering from filthy air right now. The Lib Dems would ban new diesel cars by 2025 to clean up traffic today, not in a generation.
“And that’s not all the Government has left us waiting for. A scrappage scheme for diesel vehicles has been put up for consultation. Announcements on new taxes have been delayed until future Budgets. That’s if they ever happen at all.
“All of which means that, tragically, people in Lewisham will keep on suffering. In fact, the introduction of Sadiq Khan’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone could result in more diesel cars in our area, as they stick to the South Circular to avoid paying a charge.
“The Liberal Democrats will not tolerate this. We’re fighting to start getting diesels off our roads today, with more help for drivers to move to greener vehicles. We will use any powers we can, locally, to bring about improvements.
“An urgent situation requires urgent solutions. Our party recognises this fact. The Air Quality Plan shows that the Government does not.”