We all need clean air – so we need a clean air election.
Labour is ahead in the polls – which gives them space to do the Right Thing(s). 
Sadiq Khan’s election victory proved that sticking to principles can work – and that its not just Sadiq that’s not wedded to motonormativity.

1. So lets campaign! For much more than we’re getting now!

A. Pollution is literally the biggest health problem
Everyone took notice when 230 thousand people died from Covid in the last four years.
There was lots of money. Lots of ideas. Incidentally, also lots of behaviour change.

50,000 people die every year from Pollution. 
Not in such dramatic and overwhelming peaks as in the pandemic.
But that’s still 200,00 deaths from pollution in the last four years – and many many more through so many decades before – with many more to come if we dont do something NOW. 

But where is the effort and money and policy ideas that were put into Covid?

Its about more than deaths. Its much more than asthma. And its important right through the lifespan.
Government and politicians need to get their act together. 
And the General election is a chance for us to point that out to them.

We’re forever saying young people need education. 
2. But current powerholders like MPs, mayors, councillors, commerce and culture (and the Prime Minister) need much more education – quicker

Some things (B below) can be done linked to the old specific isnt-enough ideas. 
But politicians and the government surely need to understand that our big pollution problem needs much more ambitious interventions:

3. Stop spending billions of our money subsidising big oil. Stop authorising new coal pits and new oil drilling. Pull out instead. Subsidise (increasingly cheaper) renewables and sustainable heating instead.

4. Stop counting forest biomass as ‘renewable’ energy. Stop subsidising it. Its bad for the environment – wood burning generates higher CO2 emissions per kilowatt of electricity than coal. Its bad for biodiversity – as Europe’s virgin forests are destroyed. And with ‘environmental’ racism – its bad for communities.

5. Get Health-led for Multi-sector issues and multi-sector interventions, for example in urban development, energy and more. 

6. Link with wider climate / net zero thinking. 
Particulate Matter blows in internationally, and pollution is exported and imported (as with biomass). Understanding the big effects of small scale local polluters is also key.
The climate crisis means extreme events which can and do affect pollution.
Heat means ozone – with big direct and also multiplier effects. 

7. Link the different UK and EU carbon emissions trading schemes / border taxes and reporting mechanisms. 

B. As above, its vital to think big
But there’s definitely also value to be added in some more specific ideas:

8. Make English clean air targets much more ambitious, much more quickly.

9. Focus on inequalities. More deprived areas, communities and individuals produce less pollution – but have to breathe the dirtiest air. Lets make population advances by starting with the most polluted.

10. Put health warning labels on woodburners / solid fuels. Lighting fires in our homes is the largest source of small particle air pollution in the UK – and produces more harmful PM2.5 than road transport in the UK.

11. Make SUV drivers pay. If SUVs were a country, they would be the world’s fifth-largest emitter of CO2. SUVs account for more than a quarter of the overall annual growth in oil demand. And they’re increasing. I think massive reductions in SUVs are called for – but maybe start with parking. Paris, for example, has tripled parking costs for visitors with SUVs.
And/or more road tax for the heaviest vehicles.
SUVs also make the roads less safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and occupants of all other vehicles.

12. ULEZ was / is a great idea but London and other cities still have dirty air. So we need different / more transport ideas: 
Manchester, for example, has free buses in its centre;
Asthma+Lung UK have specific – and money-saving – recommendations for accessible and inclusive clean air zones.

13. Monitors and monitoring: Of course monitoring is important to measure overall pollution levels – not only NOx and PM, but also ozone. And to identify local hotspots/point sources. But its extra-key to notice / predict spikes – and, especially for high risk individuals and the medical staff looking after them – to take appropriate action. After all, spikes are linked to more, and longer hospital admissions.

14. Ban high carbon ads and sponsorship: for airlines and airports, fossil fuel companies, all SUVs, other cars which are not electric or hydrogen, cruise holidays. Edinburgh has already done this.

15. Construction emissions are rising. We need regulation, enforcement and more.

16. Commercial kitchens: meat cooking, and cooking on wood can cause problems for workers – but also, if the filters are not maintained, pollution outside. More research is needed – including on enforcement, but there are some things that can be done.

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