Air pollution

The air we breathe has a direct impact on our health. But across huge swathes of the UK, the air is so dirty that the government’s been taken to court. We’ve failed to meet even minimum EU standards for clean air. In the past week alone, we’ve seen record levels of pollution.

Environment minister, Owen Paterson, is failing to face facts about pollution. Now he has two weeks to lay out an ambitious plan of action. Or else the EU will start legal action that could lead to massive fines for the UK – and thousands of people living next to busy roads will keep on breathing dangerously dirty air.

He could try to get away with doing as little as possible. But together 38 Degrees members are piling pressure on Owen Paterson to take real action. We’re helping make this an issue too toxic to ignore. Over the next week 38 Degrees members will be writing to Owen Paterson, urging him to present an ambitious plan of action to the EU – on how he’s going to crack down on air pollution.

Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK. That’s more than twice as many per year as were caused by passive smoking before the ban. Children living near busy roads in the UK have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs.

Top environmental lawyers ClientEarth say: “We have the right to breathe clean air and the government has a legal duty to protect us from air pollution.” But the UK still has some of the highest levels of harmful gasses in the air we breathe.

Together, 38 Degrees members are helping to turn this legal challenge into an opportunity – to make bold steps towards cutting pollution in the UK. Together, we’re kicking up a stink and showing Owen Paterson that levels of pollution are a marker that he’ll be judged by.

To get started please click here. There are hints on what to say on the page, and please do tell your own story of why cutting air pollution is important to you,