General Election 2017: Green Party will force car companies to pay for damaging people's health

PUBLISHED: 13:01 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:17 26 May 2017

Green Party PPC Jack Easton and air quality expert Keith Cotton measuring at the Peahen Junction

Green Party PPC Jack Easton and air quality expert Keith Cotton measuring at the Peahen Junction

Archant

A Parliamentary candidate for St Albans has said his party will make car companies pay for damaging people's health.

Green Party councillor Simon Grover and Green Party members at the Peahen junction in 2014Green Party councillor Simon Grover and Green Party members at the Peahen junction in 2014

Jack Easton, who is running for the Green Party, made the remarks as he was joined by an air quality expert to measure pollution levels at The Peahen junction in the city centre.

He said: “Action is way overdue. Nationally, there are estimated to be 40,000 premature deaths every year because of air pollution, and it is endangering children’s health and development.

“The Conservative government’s ‘plan’ makes it a priority to avoid inconveniencing the private motorist, but we really do have to reduce traffic.”

The Peahen junction, at the top of Holywell Hill, has been an Air Quality Management Area for over 10 years now.

Last year, the area regularly broke the legal limits for levels of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air.

Jack said: “The Green Party’s plan offers practical solutions to tackle this public health emergency, and would force car companies to pay for the damage they have done to people’s health.

“This would also create funding for our local councils to invest in walking, cycling and clean public transport. We need a transport revolution that reverses years of underinvestment and skyhigh fares.”

The Green Party’s action on air pollution mirrors similar attempts by St Albans council to tackle the problem.

The council is due to launch a campaign urging people to switch off their engines when stuck in traffic, and consider more eco-friendly modes of transport.

Environment scrutiny committee chair, Cllr Anthony Rowlands, said at the time: “We have a duty to both monitor the levels of air pollution and to do something about it, along with other public authorities, when levels breach national standards.”

The council is also consulting on new proposals to make taxi drivers replace their vehicles with electric models.

Jack Easton is one of four candidates vying to be the next MP for St Albans. He is up against Daisy Cooper for the Liberal Democrats, Anne Main for the Conservatives, and Kerry Pollard for the Labour Party.

The election is being held on Thursday, June 8. You can register to vote until midnight on Monday, May 15 by visiting www.gov.uk/registertovote

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