THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of placing children’s health at grave risk by failing to tackle air pollution, after it emerged that Yorkshire is one of the worst regions in the country for illegal levels of pollutants.
Research published today shows that more than eight million children live in areas of the UK with illegal levels of air pollution. Some 8.3m under-18s live in local authority areas where levels of harmful pollutant nitrogen dioxide exceeded legal limits in 2015, according to Labour Party analysis of figures from the House of Commons Library. Around three-fifths of youngsters were living in areas across the UK where pollution limits were breached in 2015, the estimates show.
It suggests 2.5m under-fives were living in areas of the UK with illegally dirty air in 2015, which is 63 per cent of all children in the age group. Outside London, Yorkshire was the worst affected region, with an estimated 83 per cent of youngsters living in areas with illegal pollution.
It comes just weeks after Leeds City Council chiefs unveiled plans to create a Clean Air Zone, after it was named as one of 29 local authorities whose roads breached legal pollution levels.
Buses, taxis and lorries could be hit with daily £100 fines if they breach emissions limits, under the proposals.
Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman said: “With the majority of our young people now growing up in areas that breach air quality limits it’s clear the UK is in the middle of a dirty air emergency.”
An Environment Department spokesman said the Government has put a £3.5bn plan in place to improve air quality and pledged to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040.