Oxford Labour are campaigning against the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government's plan to remove important responsibilities for air quality monitoring and management from local authorities.
This could lead to cuts in air quality monitors, such as that in front of All Souls College on Oxford's High Street, which are essential for us to keep track of pollution levels over time. Although Labour-run Oxford City Council is committed to reducing pollution, it has to operate within the framework of national policy.
The Government has suggested that local air quality monitoring and management should be significantly weakened following its 'red tape challenge' to reduce the 'regulatory burden'. However, getting rid of local air quality monitoring and management would likely result in losses of highly skilled jobs, a drop-off in investment in Oxford science, public health dangers, and even more strain on our downsizing National Health Service.
This morning Andrew Smith MP and Anneliese Dodds, Labour MEP candidate for Oxford, and local Labour activists were leafleting and speaking with Oxford residents to raise awareness of this important issue.
Andrew said: "Air quality monitoring is vital both for health and the quality of life. It's very worrying that the government don't think it should be a requirement". Anneliese added: "The UK has already been in breach of EU regulations on air quality this year. Getting rid of air quality monitors will hide pollution but it won't stop it hurting the young, the elderly and the unwell".
SERA, the Labour Party's Environmental Campaign, has launched an online petition to defend our clean air against the Coalition's cuts. To sign the petition please click here or just go to www.change.org, find the search box, and type 'air quality monitoring'.