On 25th and 26th March 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers to questions on protecting children from effects of air pollution:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration has been given to developing a cross-governmental healthy air for children action plan as part of a national framework to protect children and young people from toxic air. HL14480
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: In January, the Government launched the Clean Air Strategy, our world leading plan which focuses on tackling air pollution in England. Air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK. The Strategy, jointly launched by the Secretaries of State for Environment and Health, was welcomed by the World Health Organization as “an example for the rest of the world to follow.”
All the measures set out will reduce emissions of pollution, improving public health. The Strategy includes the comprehensive action required across all parts of the Government to improve air quality for everyone, including children and young people.
Ministers and officials across Government Departments will continue to regularly discuss air pollution and how to reduce it so we can improve the air we breathe now and for future generations.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration has been given to establishing a ring-fenced fund to protect children and young people from toxic air. HL14479
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: All measures which reduce air pollution will reduce exposure of children to harmful pollutants. Our Clean Air Strategy is clear that children are impacted by air pollution more than the general population, and all the measures set out in the Strategy will reduce emissions of pollution, improving public health.
The Government has put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions, which includes £495 million for councils to improve air quality. Councils with serious air quality problems may bid for a share of these funds.
Local authorities are best placed to target action to improve local air quality. Defra’s Air Quality Grant Programme provides funding to local authorities for projects in local communities to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions which may include action targeting schools. Defra has awarded over £57 million in funding since the air quality grant started in 1997. A further £3 million has been allocated for 2018/19