MP ELLIE REEVES QUIZZES MINISTERS ON 20 MPH ZONES AND AIR POLLUTION (Questions in the House – One)

Ellie Reeves Labour, Lewisham West and Penge

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of local authorities enforcing 20mph zones in built-up areas on the level of pedestrians involved in traffic accidents.

Jesse Norman Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Department has not carried out a study on the effect of speed enforcement in 20mph zones (which have traffic calming measures such as chicanes and speed humps) or on 20mph limits (which have signs only).

DfT guidance recommends that successful 20 mph zones and 20 mph speed limits are mutually reinforcing, i.e. the existing conditions of the road together with measures such as traffic calming or signing, publicity and information as part of the scheme, lead to a mean traffic speed compliant with the speed limit. Within this approach, to achieve compliance there should be no expectation on the police to provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity, unless this has been explicitly agreed with the local traffic authority. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 23 January 2019, cW)

Ellie Reeves Labour, Lewisham West and Penge

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to issue public safety campaigns to reduce the number of pedestrians involved in traffic accidents. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 23 January 2019, cW)

Jesse Norman Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Road Traffic Act 1988 gives local authorities the responsibility for carrying out a programme of road safety and to take preventative measures including dissemination of information such as public education campaigns.

The Government wants to see roads which are safe and which meet the needs of all users, including vulnerable road users such as pedestrians. The Government encourages local authorities, schools and the public to use its THINK! road safety educational campaigns and resources, which cover a wide range of issues. These campaigns encourage safer behaviours, so as to reduce the number of people killed and injured.

Ellie Reeves Labour, Lewisham West and Penge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of air pollution on the (a) short-term and (b) long-term of (i) public health and (ii) the level of non-communicable disease mortality.

Therese CoffeyThe Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Long-term exposure to air pollution reduces life expectancy by increasing deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and from lung cancer.

Short term peaks in air pollution are also associated with a range of adverse health effects including exacerbation of asthma, effects on lung function as well as increases in daily mortality and hospital admissions (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/comeap-quantification-of-mortality-and-hospital-admissions-associated-with-ground-level-ozone).

Defra’s Daily Air Quality Index (https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/air-pollution/daqi) assists in understanding air pollution levels and suggests recommended actions and health advice. Such advice applies to anyone experiencing symptoms.

The latest report from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution(COMEAP), an expert committee of the Department of Health and Social Care, estimated that long-term exposure to man-made pollution in the UK has an annual effect equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nitrogen-dioxide-effects-on-mortality). COMEAP has recently provided advice on the effects of air pollution on cardiovascular disease (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-pollution-and-cardiovascular-disease-mechanistic-evidence) and is currently assessing the evidence in relation to cognitive decline.

Public Health England (PHE) has also estimated the fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to particulate air pollution at local authority level (https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework).

PHE have undertaken research (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-pollution-a-tool-to-estimate-healthcare-costs) to quantify the effect of air pollution on the incidence of disease and, therefore, the costs to health and social care services. These modelled data shows that reducing the concentration of PM2.5 by 1 µg/min England in a single year can prevent around 50,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 15,000 strokes, 9,000 cases of asthma and 4,000 lung cancers over the following 18 years. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 22 January 2019, cW)

Ellie Reeves Labour, Lewisham West and Penge

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what support his Department provides to local authorities to improve air quality.

Therese CoffeyThe Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Local authorities already have responsibilities and many powers to monitor and reduce air pollution. Local authorities have been able to apply for grants from the Clean Air Fund. Recognising that there are still local authorities which are in breach of statutory limits on roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, the UK government allocated £495 million of funding to support local authorities in its 2017 plan. This is part of the £3.5 billion investment into air quality and cleaner transport which has supported local authorities, including in London. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 22 January 2019, cW) (Sources: TheyWorkForYou)

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