We are facing a national health crisis and a major cause is air pollution.
Even in Brighton and Hove with its sea breezes, people are dying prematurely because of polluted air.
There are areas in the city centre, around Portslade and parts of Rottingdean where male life expectancy is three years lower than the rest of England, because of air pollution. North Street in Brighton is one of the ten most polluted streets in the country.
A 2018 report identified more than 30 sites across the city which exceed the legal limit for NO2, a dangerous pollutant linked to respiratory problems like coughing and bronchitis.
Those living in poverty or who are vulnerable are most at risk, reinforcing the already shocking levels of inequality in our country.
The government response to this has been completely inadequate. It has simply left people to choke. The EU has had to take action against the UK in 16 cities because of illegal levels of NO2. That is the only thing that is forcing any government action at all, so if we leave the EU, we will lose a vital environmental protection.
Because we cannot trust this government to clean up our air. Boris Johnson has already said he sees Brexit as the chance to regulate differently. It’s clear what he means: a bonfire of safeguards to please the Tory free-trade fanatics.
The Green Party will protect people’s health and our environment with a Clean Air Act fit for the 21st century, cracking down on dirty diesel engines and enshrining in law the right to breathe healthy air.
These Clean Air Zones will balance the urgent need to improve air quality and protect human health with the needs of local businesses.
We will also promote an extended public transport network which is clean, reliable, affordable and a viable alternative to car travel. Because there is nothing more important than breathing clean air.