Keith Taylor MEP: Dartford Crossing 'misclassification' is an outrage

DartfordCrossingResponding to the news that pollution levels around the Dartford Crossing have been excluded from government air quality assessments [1], Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, said:

"The misclassification of the Dartford Crossing as a rural road is, at best, outrageous incompetence, at worst, a dangerous attempt to avoid taking action on a deadly air pollution crisis that unnecessarily claims the lives of more than 700 people in Kent [2]."

"That neither the DfT nor Defra corrected the 'error', despite having many an opportunity to do so, further demonstrates the Government's extremely concerning attitude of indifference towards its duty to safeguard the health of citizens in Kent, and Britain more widely."

"The omission means illegal levels of air pollution from a crossing that carries 50 million vehicles every year have not been reported to the European Commission; the only political body that is actually taking action and attempting to hold the UK government to account for its air quality failures."

Just last month, the European Commission sent a “final warning” to the UK for failing to address repeated breaches of legal air pollution limits in 16 areas including the South East region [3]. Keith said:

“The failure highlighted is as much moral as it is legal; that the European Commission is having to hold to account this government for a public health crisis that costs the British public more than £20bn [4] and claims 50,000 [5] lives every year is a shameful indictment of the Conservatives’ irresponsible and deadly apathy.”

“Theresa May’s administration is failing to do the bare minimum, as required by EU laws the UK itself helped to set, to improve the quality of the air we all breathe. The bare minimum. Where embraced and enforced, EU air pollution limits are helping to prevent thousands of deaths every year [6] and saving billions of pounds in direct health costs [7]. This government readily acknowledges that it is EU law that has been the driver of positive air quality action in the UK [8]. But the Prime Minister’s plans for an extreme Brexit puts those vital EU safeguards at risk.”

“The government must finally face up to its moral and legal responsibility for tackling Britain’s air quality crisis. Ministers must now be forced to make a firm commitment to abiding by and fully implementing EU air quality laws. Theresa May must also make a new Clean Air Act a means to maintain and strengthen these vital protections as Britain prepares to leave the EU.”










Keith is the Green MEP for the South East of England and is one of 50 Greens/EFA MEPs in the European Parliament. He sits on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, and the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. He is a member of the European Parliament’s delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council which works to forge greater links between MEPs and parliamentarians in Palestine. Keith is also Vice Chair of the parliament’s Intergroup on animal welfare and a member of the parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights.

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