MacManus welcomes success of air pollution laws in European Parliament
Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has welcomed a European Parliament vote in favour of new EU laws on air pollution. “It is hugely positive to see the Ambient Air Quality Directive adopted by the European Parliament today,” said MacManus. “This legislation is all about bringing our rules on air quality in line with the scientific advice of the World Health Organisation, and represents important progress for human health and the environment.”
Speaking from Strasbourg after a plenary vote in the European Parliament, MacManus said, “Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe, but it is often overlooked by policy makers. 96% of Europeans are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, and people on lower incomes are disproportionately exposed to harmful pollutants. Vulnerable groups like children are particularly at risk of respiratory diseases, infections and even cancers.”
“Tackling air pollution will not only improve people’s health and wellbeing, but can bring other societal benefits as well. Aligning the EU limit values with the WHO recommendations will bring billions of euros in net benefits each year, in the form of savings for our healthcare systems and reduced need for sick leave and time off work.”
“Given all the positives that come with tackling air pollution, it was all the more disappointing to see groups from the right wing of the Parliament attempt to scupper this new legislation. Far right groups and the European People’s Party put forward amendments to water down the legislation significantly, and even to reject it outright. Thankfully, almost all of these attempts failed, and we had a majority in favour of progressive legislation that will bring our air quality standards in line with the WHO’s latest guidance. There are still a few steps to go before the directive becomes EU law, but once it does it will be up to national and local authorities to measure air pollution and take steps to reduce it.” MacManus concluded, “This is an important step towards cleaner, healthier air for all.” ENDS
Note: the European Commission estimates that by 2030, total gross benefits for society stemming from this proposal will be between €42 to 121 billion per year, compared to a total cost of €5.7 billion per year for mitigation measures and related administrative costs.