MSetting legal limits for air pollution can seem incredibly difficult, but understanding the connections between our environmental problems and tackling them together can simplify attempts to find solutions.
For example, our polluted roads and rivers are connected by runoff from street drains, and road traffic that pollutes our air also produces noise that disturbs our peace. Tire fragments and plastic waste crushed by traffic in our streets end up in our air and our oceans.
Investing in local businesses and services can help us replace motorized traffic with walking and cycling, improve neighborhoods, tackle the climate crisis and air pollution, and improve our health through to daily exercise.
When it comes to net zero, diesel cars and wood burning have been big mistakes for air pollution and are not helping our climate.
Speaking to the Conservative Network for the Environment in December, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jo Churchill called for intergovernmental and inter-society action to tackle air pollution. As initiatives like the UK Clean Air Program attempt to cross the boundaries of research, it is difficult for researchers, officials and local government to bring our environmental concerns together without a strategic framework.
It has been 10 years since the abolition of the independent royal commission on environmental pollution. Created in 1970, its broad mission was to investigate national and international pollution problems and to warn of future dangers. Its reports were strongly solution-oriented and had a direct impact on government policy.
The 1983 lead in gasoline commission report was immediately followed by changes in UK law, as was its 1989 report on genetically modified organisms. The commission’s recommendation for a long-term CO2 the reduction target was accepted by the government in 2000 and EU-wide environmental regulations for polluting industries and waste follow from its recommendations.
Noel Nelson, a member of the public service team that worked with the commission, said: “Although the members are all experts in their own fields, the best solutions have rarely been found in a single discipline. “
Today, the lack of a strategic vision independent of environmental evidence makes us vulnerable to missed opportunities. Do we need a new royal commission?
Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, former member of the committee, said: “Since the dissolution of the committee in 2011, the number and complexity of environmental challenges in our changing world have increased dramatically. Examples include: the transition to zero carbon, environmental change and zoonotic infectious diseases, tackling water pollution, citizen science to monitor and improve the environment and how to harness and work with it environment to improve health and well-being. These require imaginative analysis leading to multiple solution-based outcomes.