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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Gove must make air pollution top priority – new IPPR briefing

Phasing out of dirty diesel, an industrial strategy for new clean vehicles and new smart digital technology all have critical role to play say IPPR

A new briefing by IPPR, the progressive policy think tank, published Wednesday 14th June sets out the challenge facing new Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

It argues that the only way to deal with the problem is a new comprehensive and much more ambitious strategy than the government’s draft air quality plans.

The call comes ahead of National Clean Air Day Thursday 15th June

The key planks of this strategy would be to:

  1. Make a pledge to ban diesel vehicles in major urban areas by 2025 and ban them completely thereafter through a new Clean Air Act. This will be the only way to meet legal limits and will follow similar action being taken in France, Spain, Greece, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Norway;
  2. Accelerate the implementation of and extend the number - to total 27 altogether - of mandated Clean Air Zones designed to phase out older diesel vehicles in England's cities;
  3. Use a new smart scrappage scheme and an extended plug-in car grant to drive the development and uptake of the new clean vehicles;
  4. Supporting new digital technology (smart mobility) to make using public transport easier and drive a move to car clubs and on demand taxi and private hire from private car use.

Harry Quilter-Pinner, IPPR Research Fellow said:

“The last Environment Secretary was dragged kicking and screaming by the courts into publishing better air quality plans.

“The truth is that even the draft plans now published fall a long way short of a comprehensive strategy to tackle Britain’s filthy air.

“Air quality is one of the most pressing problems now sitting in Michael Gove’s in-tray.

“He should take the opportunity to set a bold new direction for the decades to come by adopting this bold air quality strategy.”



Becky Malone 07585 772633
Kieren Walters 07921 403651

Editor’s notes:

  1. Copies of the briefing ‘Connect the dots: air quality, industrial strategy and smart mobility’ can be downloaded here.
  2. Further information about National Clean Air Day can be found here:
  3. IPPR aims to influence policy in the present and reinvent progressive politics in the future, and is dedicated to the better country that Britain can be through progressive policy and politics. With nearly 60 staff across four offices throughout the UK, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.

    Our independent research is wide ranging and covers the economy, work, skills, transport, democracy, the environment, education, energy, migration and healthcare among many other areas.