No matter which party possible MPs belong to, or which constituency they are campaigning to represent, they all have a responsibility to help end ocean plastics.
A rubbish truck’s worth of plastic is entering the ocean every single minute, with devastating impacts for marine life. 84% of the British public are now concerned about levels of plastic in the ocean. Before the election was called, the Prime Minister told Parliament, "I'm sure that together we can all work to bring an end to these harmful plastics clogging up our oceans."  
With most manifestos now published and electioneering hotting up, how’s the common ground between politicians holding over the need to protect our oceans from one of their greatest threats: plastic pollution?
In terms of recognising the problem, Labour highlighted the need to counter the current situation where “our oceans are used as dumping grounds” and the Conservative Party pledged to “continue our work to conserve the marine environment off the coast of the United Kingdom” as part of a broader commitment to leaving the environment in better condition than we inherited it”. It’s however clear that we’ve still got work to do to translate public concern and media coverage into greater political urgency over the scale of the ocean plastics challenge.
 But what about specific manifesto commitments to protect consumers and marine life from the harm plastic is causing in our oceans?

The good news is that Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party manifestos all support the introduction of deposit return schemes (at least, that’s what we can infer from Labour’s unclear wording to “set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes”…) Before calling the election, the Conservative government set up a task force to look at introducing a DRS in England - so we hope this process will continue after the election and can build broad support for a DRS that works in England. There’s enough wiggle room to do this as part of the Tories’ pledge to “do more to reduce litter, including by supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling”.
This also includes “supporting better packaging”, which when linked with the Tories’ ambition for the UK to become “the most innovative country in the world” signals support for sustainable business models. We heard similar sounds from the Lib Dems, with their aim to “cut waste, increase recovery, reuse and recycling and move towards the so-called ‘circular economy’ in which resource use, waste and pollution are minimised and product lifetimes are extended”, as part of a strategy to give customers and businesses a good deal. This includes plans for a Zero Waste Act to boost resource efficiency, promoting better design so customers can repair, reuse and recycle products more easily, and a 5p levy on disposable coffee cups to reduce the 2.5 billion that thrown away every year across the UK.  
Ocean plastics are a global problem, it’s a good sign that all the major parties committed to greater international cooperation on the environment. The Tories’ vision for the UK that will “lead the world in environmental protection” is welcome, especially a government that “champions greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the polar regions and international waters”. We know that ocean plastic causes the deaths of hundreds of thousands of marine animals each year, and that there are plastic hotspots in all of the world’s major oceans, including seas within the Arctic circle.
Furthermore, the Conservatives’ restated 2015 commitment to “work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters” is a welcome sign. Especially on the week we found out that Henderson Island, an uninhabited British overseas territory in the South Pacific, has been proclaimed the most polluted place with plastic waste anywhere in the world, with 38 million pieces of plastic found on the island. The ocean around the Pitcairn islands was designated a fully protected marine reserve in 2015, but it's clear from the heartbreaking sight of crabs making their homes inside plastic bottle caps that much more needs to be done at source to protect biodiversity from the plastic threat. Engaging in international efforts is important, but global responsibility means standing that up with UK domestic action - like passing the microbeads ban announced last summer into law this autumn.

All in all: there could be lots more specifics on tackling ocean plastic, but we’re not facing any closed doors. While some areas of environmental protection remain hotly contested, protecting our oceans by tackling plastic pollution remains a shared concern. But there’s plenty of work to do to make tackling the issue a political priority that meets the scale of the challenge. If you’re game, why not sign our petition to governments across the UK supporting deposit return schemes to tackle the blight of single-use plastic bottles?

Experts say carbon tax needed to avoid climate catastrophe. Do you agree ?

A group of leading economists warned on Monday that the world risks catastrophic global warming in just 13 years unless countries ramp up taxes on carbon emissions to as much as $100 (£77) per metric tonne.
Experts including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said governments needed to move quickly to tackle polluting industries with a tax on carbon dioxide at $40-$80 per tonne by 2020.
A tax of $100 a tonne would be needed by 2030 as one of a series of measures to prevent a rise in global temperatures of 2C.
In a report by the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices, which is backed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, they suggest poor countries could aim for a lower tax since their economies are more vulnerable.
Canon Photography 300x250
The aim of a tax on carbon would be essential to meet the targets set by the Cop21 Paris Agreement in 2015, they said.
The call for action will sting European leaders, who have presided over a carbon trading scheme since 2005 that currently charges major polluters just €6 (£5.20) for every tonne of carbon they release into the atmosphere.
The European scheme, which issues firms with carbon credits that can be traded on a central exchange, has come under fire for allowing heavy energy users to avoid investments in new technology to cut their emissions.
Critics accuse officials of issuing too many credits and allowing the price to fall to a level that makes it cheaper for companies to pollute than change their behaviour.
Stiglitz and Stern said prices should rise to $50-$100 by 2030 to give businesses and governments an incentive to lower emissions even when fossil fuels are cheap.
The Trump administration has rejected calls to introduce a carbon tax in the United States, saying it would cost jobs.
Washington’s refusal to adopt a tax has deterred Brussels from moving to a more substantial charge on emissions, which would have the effect of increasing energy costs, at least in the short term, and imposing higher costs on European manufacturers.
Sunglass Hut                                                                                                                                                                      The European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) is the world’s biggest scheme for trading greenhouse gas emissions allowances. It covers 11,000 power stations and industrial plants in 30 countries, whose carbon emissions make up almost 50% of Europe’s total.
source:the guardian

Plan To Protect Barrier Reef No Longer Achievable Due To Impacts Of Climate Change

The central aim of the government’s plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is no longer achievable due to the dramatic impacts of climate change, experts have told the government’s advisory committees for the plan.
Environmental lawyers said the revelation could mean the Great Barrier Reef might finally be listed as a “world heritage site in danger”, a move the federal and Queensland governments have strenuously fought.
The federal and Queensland government’s Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan was released in 2015, with it’s central vision to “ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to improve on its outstanding universal values”. The plan was created to satisfy the Unesco World Heritage Centre, which was considering adding the Great Barrier Reef to its list of world heritage sites in danger, that its condition could be improved.
But in a meeting of the Reef 2050 advisory committee, whose role is to provide advice to state and federal environment ministers on implementing the plan, two experts from government science agencies said improving the natural heritage values of the reef was no longer possible.
With climate change causing unprecedented back-to-back mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, killing almost half of the coral, and with the risk of those events set to increase in the coming years, loss of coral cover and biodiversity was virtually assured.
The experts told the meeting the plan should be revised to aim for something more achievable, suggesting it could aim to “maintain the ecological function” of the reef, while accepting that its overall health would inevitably decline.
The Great Barrier Reef serves many “ecological functions”. For example, the coral provides shelter and food for fish, it provides fish for humans, the various ecosystems provide experiences for tourists, and the reef structure itself provides protection to the coast from waves.

A spokeswoman for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, where one of the presenters was based, said: “The concept of ‘maintaining ecological function’ refers to the balance of ecological processes necessary for the reef ecosystem as a whole to persist, but perhaps in a different form, noting the composition and structure may differ from what is currently seen today.”
Members of the advisory committee would only speak on the condition of anonymity, but several told the Guardian about the details of the discussion.
The view presented reflects that previously expressed by a group of scientists who called themselves the Great Barrier Reef Independent Review Group, some of whom sit on Reef 2050 advisory committees. In their review of the plan’s implementation, published in February, they said improving the heritage values of the reef, as it aimed to, was “no longer attainable for at least the next two decades”. That assessment was made before the latest mass bleaching.
The language was echoed in a communique from the Independent Expert Panel – another body advising on the implementation of the Reef 2050 plan – dated 5 May. The communique said: “There is great concern about the future of the reef, and the communities and businesses that depend on it, but hope still remains for maintaining ecological function over the coming decades.”
t continued: “Members agreed that in our lifetime and on our watch, substantial areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding ecosystems are experiencing major long-term damage which may be irreversible unless action is taken now.”
Both advisory bodies have recommended that the Reef 2050 plan must address climate change, the biggest threat to the reef, which it does not.
Brendan Sydes, a lawyer and CEO at Environmental Justice Australia, said the news should be a wake-up call, and could result in the reef being considered again by Unesco for inclusion on the in-danger list.
“There’s a real risk that this new information will cause a renewed scrutiny for what Australia is or is not doing to protect the reef – particularly around climate change,” Sydes said, adding that if the outstanding universal values continued to degrade, the very listing of the reef as a world heritage site at all could come into question. “That would be a tragic situation.”
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who sits on the Independent Expert Panel, declined to comment on discussions in the meetings. But he said the shock of what had happened in the past two years had made people reassess what was possible.
“We’re managing reefs in a rapidly changing world,” Hoegh-Guldberg said. “So managing to restore the reefs of the past – the way they were prior to the big insults of the 80s, 90s and 2000s ... maybe we need to be looking at this in a different sense. What are the key ecological functions? Essentially, what roles do they play that are important to humans?”
He said that idea had a similar “cold hard light of day” feel to his own “50 reefs” project, which aims to identify 50 reefs around the world that have the best chance of being saved – and which could one day potentially help repopulate other reefs.
Despite the advice, the federal environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, and the Queensland environment minister, Steven Miles, told the Guardian they remained committed to the aims of the Reef 2050 plan.
Frydenberg said: “The Turnbull government is firmly committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef for future generations and delivering the Reef 2050 plan.
“The government has been clear from the outset that the Paris Climate Agreement is the place to deal with climate change.”
Miles said the purpose of the Reef 2050 plan was to “boost the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef, including in the face of climate change”.
Miles said the plan was intended to be reviewed, and the opportunity to do that would come in 2018.
But he also criticised the lack of action from the federal action on climate change. “Australia doesn’t currently have a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we need one,” he said. “For the sake of our reef, it’s time Malcolm Turnbull took his commitments from Paris seriously and introduced a real plan that will cap and reduce carbon pollution.”
Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said: “Two years after the World Heritage Committee endorsed the Reef 2050 plan, the federal government appears to have conceded that the plan’s vision is unachievable.
“Climate change is the single biggest threat to our reef. Yet the government is aggressively backing the reef-wrecking Adani coalmine and its climate policies are shameful.”
Richard Leck, a campaigner at WWF, said the recent bleaching events, as well as Cyclone Debbie, showed that “the Great Barrier Reef is a system in crisis”.
“And the elephant in the room, that is not included in the plan, and Australia is not performing well on, is climate change,” Leck said. “Until Australia gets serious about playing its part in limiting emissions to 1.5C temperature rise, we are not taking saving the reef seriously.”

Nasa Research Finds Changes In Emission Levels Due To How Long Methane Remains In Atmosphere

A new NASA- and Department of Energy-funded study finds that recent increases in global methane levels observed since 2007 are not necessarily due to increasing emissions, but instead may be due to changes in how long methane remains in the atmosphere after it is emitted.
The second most important human-produced greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, methane is colorless, odorless and can be hard to track. The gas has a wide range of sources, from decomposing biological material to leaks in natural gas pipelines. In the early 2000s, atmospheric scientists studying methane found that its global concentration — which had increased for decades, driven by methane emissions from fossil fuels and agriculture — leveled off as the sources of methane reached a balance with its destruction mechanisms. The methane levels remained stable for a few years, then unexpectedly started rising again in 2007, a trend that is still continuing.
Previous studies of the renewed increase have focused on high-latitude wetlands or fossil fuels, Asian agricultural growth, or tropical wetlands as potential sources of the increased emissions. But in a study published today in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Caltech in Pasadena, California; and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also in Pasadena, suggest that methane emissions might not have increased dramatically in 2007 after all.
The researchers used long-term measurements of methane, its isotopes and methylchloroform (1,1,1,-trichloroethane, a chemical compound that serves as a proxy for estimating how long methane remains in the atmosphere) from numerous global ground stations. From these data, the scientists were able to determine sources of methane and how quickly it is destroyed in Earth's atmosphere. They found that the most likely explanation for the recent increase has less to do with methane emissions than previously thought and more to do with changes in the availability of the hydroxyl radical (OH), which breaks down methane in the atmosphere. As such, the amount of hydroxyl in the atmosphere has an impact on global methane concentrations. If global levels of hydroxyl decrease, global methane concentrations will increase — even if methane emissions remain constant.

"Think of the atmosphere like a kitchen sink with the faucet running," said co-corresponding author Christian Frankenberg, an associate professor of environmental science and engineering at Caltech and a JPL research scientist. "When the water level inside the sink rises, that can mean that you've opened up the faucet more. Or it can mean that the drain is blocking up. You have to look at both."

In this analogy, the hydroxyl radical represents the draining mechanism in the sink. It is highly reactive and acts like a detergent in the atmosphere, triggering a series of chemical reactions that culminate in the formation of carbon dioxide and water vapor.
In tracking the observed changes in methane and the inferred changes in hydroxyl, Frankenberg and his colleagues noted that fluctuations in hydroxyl concentrations can explain some of the recent methane trends. However, the authors cannot explain the causes for the global changes in hydroxyl concentrations seen in the past decade. They say future independent studies are needed to quantify year-to-year variations in the hydroxyl radical and their potential drivers. They would also like to see the trends they detected verified with more detailed studies of the sources and the destruction mechanisms of methane, particularly in the tropics.
"The tropics are the tricky part," Frankenberg said. "They're very complex in terms of methane emissions and destruction." Methane has the shortest lifetime in the tropics due to the large amounts of water vapor and radiation there. But because tropical areas are often remote and cloud-covered (thwarting satellite observation), they remain understudied, he said.

The study is titled "Ambiguity in the causes for decadal trends in atmospheric methane and hydroxyl." Frankenberg's collaborators on the paper are lead author and Harvard graduate student Alexander Turner, Daniel Jacob of Harvard, and Paul Wennberg of Caltech. A NASA Carbon Monitoring System grant co-funded the study.

Will US Renege On Historic Climate Agreement ?

The UN’s deputy secretary general has accused President Donald Trump of “treading water” over a decision on the future of the Paris climate change agreement, on which the fate of millions of people depend.
Amina Mohammed told the Guardian she was hopeful the US would not renege on the deal signed last year, but that Trump appeared to be avoiding a public declaration after taking such a hard line during his campaign for the White House.
Trump has previously described climate change as a hoax orchestrated by China. During his battle for the presidency against Hillary Clinton he vowed to “cancel” the historic agreement, which commits countries to ensuring that the average global temperature does not rise 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Since being elected Trump, who is on a world tour starting with a visit to Saudi Arabia, has delayed announcing his administration’s position, although it is widely believed he will be forced to make a statement at the G7 summit in Italy next weekend.
Mohammed said: “[The US] coming out of the agreement does put the track for the ambition of attaining the target in jeopardy and we have to claw that back and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Under the Paris agreement’s “members determined contributions” (MDCs), former president Barack Obama pledged to cut US carbon dioxide emissions by 26% by 2025, bringing it down to 28%.
Mohammed, a former environment minister in the Nigerian government, said the White House, while generally sceptical of the detailed terms of the agreement, appeared divided over what steps to take.

She said: “As far as the US administration’s discussions are concerned, on the one hand there is the case of staying in the agreement and determining how they would respond to the MDCs and the commitments of the previous administration. They would rather be at the table than not.
“On the other hand, there is the other side that says even if you stay in the agreement there is no room for manoeuvre. Those two positions are being worked out. We continue to talk to both sides about the imperative to stay and give the opportunity to go through the MDCs and work together with them on that.
“I think he is treading water until he has to say something, probably at the G7 meeting. Maybe he will find a reason why he is not ready then either. What we have seen is there is an understanding in his administration that withdrawing from the agreement is not the best and they would probably be better served to stay in.”
Obama hailed last year’s Paris agreement as a historic “turning point” in the fight against climate change, should countries fully commit to cutting emissions.
However, Trump has already started stripping away many of the pollution rules imposed by Obama’s administration, such as the signature clean power planvehicle emissions standards, clean water regulations and curbs on toxic discharge from power plants.
Mohammed said the president needed to be persuaded that while jobs might be lost in the coal industry, they would be regained in renewables if the US stuck to its promises.
She said: “The world has recognised that climate change is very real, the science shows emissions are having a detrimental effect and will be catastrophic unless we try to reduce them below two degrees and certainly 1.5. And so, the US being one of top emitters it is essential to have them in the agreement.

“Globally, the implications are huge for countries that will go under water, coastlines that will lose investment to high-level sea rises. This is very real. I see hope for the US staying in the agreement. I think there is a bigger challenge of us keeping the ambition of the MDCs.”

source:the guardian

Antarctica Turning Green Due To Climate Change|Is This Good Or Bad ?

Antarctica may conjure up an image of a pristine white landscape, but researchers say climate change is turning the continent green.
Scientists studying banks of moss in Antarctica have found that the quantity of moss, and the rate of plant growth, has shot up in the past 50 years, suggesting the continent may have a verdant future.
“Antarctica is not going to become entirely green, but it will become more green than it currently is,” said Matt Amesbury, co-author of the research from the University of Exeter. 
“This is linking into other processes that are happening on the Antarctic Peninsula at the moment, particularly things like glacier retreat which are freeing up new areas of ice-free land – and the mosses particularly are very effective colonisers of those new areas,” he added. 
In the second half of the 20th century, the Antarctic Peninsula experienced rapid temperature increases, warming by about half a degree per decade. 
Plant life on Antarctica is scarce, existing on only 0.3% of the continent, but moss, well preserved in chilly sediments, offers scientists a way of exploring how plants have responded to such changes. 
Writing in the journal Current Biology, scientists from three British universities and the British Antarctic Survey describe how they gathered data from five vertical columns of sediments, or cores, drilled from three islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula – the northernmost part of Antarctica that reaches out towards south America.
The team then analysed the cores, examining the top 20cm of each to allow the scientists to look back over 150 years and explore changes over time across a number of factors. These included the amount of moss, its rate of growth, the size of populations of microbes and a ratio of different forms, or isotopes, of carbon in the plants that indicates how favourable conditions were for photosynthesis at a particular point in time.

The cores reveal that the warming climate of Antarctica in the past 50 years has spurred on biological activity: the rate of moss growth is now four to five times higher than it was pre-1950. 
The results echo findings reported by the team in 2013 based on cores from the southernmost known moss bank, found on Alexander Island to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula.
“Because we have got this wide transect now and all of the [sites examined] are showing the same response, consistently over that 1,000km transect, that makes us much more confident that it is a response to temperature change,” said Amesbury.
Taken together, the team say the results show that moss banks across the region are responding to warming, adding that variations in the measure of favourability for photosynthesis between sites is likely down to local differences in moisture levels. “Temperature change also drives other things, so earlier spring melt, for example, is one, longer growing season is another – all of those things will have more local effects on each individual site,” said Amesbury.
The team also used models to explore what the future might hold for the continent, taking into account recent research that has suggested that the peninsula has cooled, albeit temporarily, in recent years as a result of changes in wind patterns. 
The results suggest that even modest future warming could lead to further, rapid changes in Antarctica’s ecosystems. What’s more, the scientists warn that greening, together with increases in the number of visitors to Antarctica, could make it easier for invasive species to colonise the continent.

“The likelihood of this happening is very much an uncertainty, but remains a very real possibility, which is understandably concerning,” said Thomas Roland, a co-author of the study also from the University of Exeter. “Should this occur, it would further transform the face of this remote, largely pristine and very iconic region.”

Research Finds Global Warming Causes Sharp Rise In Destructive Wind Storms

The UK is set to reap the whirlwind of climate change with the huge damage caused by wind storms expected to increase sharply, according to new analysis.
Even the minimum global warming now expected – just 1.5C – is projected to raise the cost of windstorm destruction by more than a third in parts of the country. If climate change heats the world even further, broken roofs and damaged buildings are likely to increase by over 50% across a swathe of the nation.
The research shows all of the UK is on track to see rises in high winds except the south and south-west, with the greatest impact across the Midlands, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland. This is because the main storms that barrel in off the Atlantic are expected to move their track northwards as the planet warms, a phenomenon linked to the rapid melting being seen in the Arctic.
Flooding is the most high-profile impact of climate change on the UK. But the overall cost of wind storms is actually higher, as a result of a much larger number of smaller incidents, and currently runs at an average of about £1bn a year. Extreme wind storms can occur, though, and in 1990 the Burns’ Day stormresulted in 47 deaths, as well as more than £2bn of insured damage and many millions more in damage to roads, power lines and uninsured properties.
The new work was commissioned by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which is concerned by the rising impacts of climate change on its customers, and was carried out by the consultancy Air Worldwide and the UK Met Office.
“It is absolutely a concern that we are going to be living in a world where overall there are higher wind storm losses,” said Matt Cullen, the ABI’s head of strategy. “That inevitably transfers through to insurers having to raise premiums and hold more capital. We want to make sure we live in a world where risk is controlled and understandable and we can offer insurance in a reliable and sensible way.”

Homes and buildings have lifespans of many decades and so work done now should make them better able to withstand the buffeting of severe winds, Cullen said. He said there was a concern that, while the risks of climate change are now being included in policies, there was little to ensure the protections needed are actually implemented.
The research used sophisticated Met Office climate models to examine how wind storms are likely to change in frequency and intensity with different levels of global warming. “We will probably see an overall reduction in the number of storms, but an increase in the frequency of the most intense storms, and of course those are the ones that cause the [most] damage,” said Peter Sousounis, director of meteorology at Air Worldwide.
This data was then used to calculate the changes expected in the cost of damage resulting from the stronger storms and the researchers found significant increases in most parts of the UK. This was not entirely unexpected, said Sousounis.
“We have seen enough results from catastrophe models to really not be surprised. Small changes in wind speed can have a huge impact on losses,” he said. “Losses go up almost exponentially with increasing wind speed.”
Cullen said: “The likelihood of claims resulting from severe storms increasing in the future is something the insurance industry, and society, need to start preparing for now. Planners and builders should be aware of the need for more wind-resistant construction in specific areas of the country if claims are to be kept to a minimum and residents spared the distress and expense of higher levels of wind damage.”

The government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, warned in 2016 that UK is poorly prepared for the inevitable impacts of global warming in coming decades, including floods, deadly annual heatwaves and water shortages. It also warned: “Any increases in maximum wind speeds with climate change experienced during storms would have significant implications for many infrastructure networks,” such as roads and railways and power and communication lines.

souce:the guardian

London’s Choking Initiative Aims To Draw Attention To Areas Where Nitrogen Dioxide Pollution Threatens Public health


They take their inspiration from the well-known signs linking people from the past with the buildings they once inhabited, but the symbols now appearing across London are to highlight a different connection.
In the past week, grey plaques – direct copies of the English Heritage blue plaques identifying the homes of the dead and famous – have been put up on buildings across the capital to identify streets and houses in areas where air pollution threatens public health.
Each plaque carries the phrase London’s Choking to point out areas where levels of NO2 – predominantly from diesel traffic – regularly reach levels that are harmful to human health.
Joe Dennett and Rob Donaldson came up with the idea to try to raise awareness of the invisible threat from air pollution to tens of thousands of Londoners.
“It is an issue which Londoners are becoming more aware of, and which we have become increasingly concerned about. But we realised a lot of people were not aware of where pollution levels are high because you cannot see the pollution, it’s quite nebulous.
“We wanted to try and create awareness and anger about it at grass roots and to come up with something that would identify the air pollution.
“The English Heritage blue plaques highlight the invisible past of a building and this is trying to highlight the invisible danger of the pollution in the areas where the grey plaques are being put up.”
The first plaque – with a skull and crossbones at its base – appeared on Brixton Road, which by 4 January this year had breached annual legal limits for NO2 pollution. Further plaques in Putney High Street, Farringdon Street and Oxford Street have also been erected.
The plaques were put up in the week after the government was forced by the high court to publish its new air quality draft plan to tackle illegal levels of NO2 pollution. Ministers have twice lost in the high court after their original plans were challenged by the environmental law firm Client Earth.

But the government’s latest policy – published on 5 May – has, say campaigners, fallen short again. It contains no commitment to a diesel scrappage scheme to subsidise the public to get rid of their diesel vehicles and also fails to mandate local authorities to impose charges on drivers of diesel cars in clean air zones.
The draft plan has been condemned as “woefully inadequate” by Client Earth. The government has to produce a full plan by 31 July.
While English Heritage has 900 blue plaques across London, Dennett and Donaldson are just beginning to identify air pollution blackspots with their grey plaques.
As well as on streets and main routes through London, the pair have put up plaques outside schools in areas where air pollution exceeds legal limits. Figures released by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, revealed in February that more than 800 schools in London are in areas where NO2 pollution is above legal limits and considered harmful.
Khan said: “Toxic air causes more than 9,000 early deaths every year in London, as well as stunting the growth of children’s lungs, causing dementia and strokes. Londoners are understandably concerned about the possible damage to their health of living in high pollution areas and want to make informed choices.
“That’s why I’m writing a new London plan with policies in place to make sure pollution levels are considered when deciding where to build new homes and schools in London, as well as a whole host of other measures to make our air cleaner.
“The Tories are refusing to take any action to clean up our dangerously polluted air, while Labour is delivering the most ambitious clean-air plans of any city on the planet. The best way to clean up our air is to vote Labour.”

Nationally, a Guardian and Greenpeace investigation revealed that more than 2,000 schools and nurseries are within 150 metres of a road where NO2 exceeds the legal limit for long-term exposure of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.
Joe Dennett from London’s Choking. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian source:theguardian