Green MEP, Jean Lambert has branded today's disappointing vote to weaken the Air Quality Directive as 'pathetic'.
With air quality in breach of current EU standards in many parts of the UK, some of the worst areas being in London, the European Commission seems to have avoided taking legal action by extending target dates by up to 12 years, letting the UK Government off the hook once again.
Speaking after the vote Jean commented; "It is a scandal that the EU Parliament has voted to weaken the existing air quality rules despite clear evidence of the severe health consequences of air pollution.
"Over 350,000 premature deaths from air pollution occur across the EU every year, but the pollution limits in the proposed revision still fall far short of the limit values recommended by the World Health Organisation.
"Today's vote would suggest that incredibly the Parliament believe Londoners are more resilliant than those in California who enjoy air quality limit values that are almost twice as strict as those being recommended by the EU.
"Air pollution takes at least 8 months off our life expectancy and
its pathetic that the European Parliament could not make a stand against weaker
rules. We simply can not accept this decision which will inevitably lead to
an exacerbation of the already significant health problems caused by air pollution
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.