Saturday 5th July will mark the 60th anniversary for the Clean Air Act which was put in place by the City of London Corporation to try and tackle the vast amount of air pollution.
The Clean Air Act is legislation that regulates how fuels are burnt in homes, commercial premises and smaller industrial operations.
It mainly focusses on the use of solid fuels, e.g. coal and wood. Implementation and enforcement of the Act is carried out by local authorities, this is the boroughs in London and district or unitary authorities elsewhere in England.
The Act introduced a number of measures to reduce air pollution, especially by introducing ‘smoke control areas’ in some towns and cities in which only smokeless fuels could be burned. By shifting homes’ sources of heat towards cleaner coals, electricity, and gas, it reduced the amount of smoke pollution and sulphur dioxide from household fires. Reinforcing these changes, the Act also included measures to relocate power stations away from cities, and for the height of some chimneys to be increased. The launch of the Clean Air Act was an important milestone in the development of a legal framework to protect the environment.
The Clean Air Act was introduced in response to the problem of coal smoke smogs, including the famous ‘Great Smog’ that caused the early deaths of 4,075 Londoners in 1952.
Air pollution in our biggest cities is much worse than most of us have realised. It averages well over twice World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and legal limits near many of London’s busiest roads. Mayor Johnson has estimated some 4,300 premature deaths in London in 2008 were attributable to long-term exposure to dangerous airborne particles alone.
As we come up to 60th anniversary of the first Clean Air Act for the City of London Corporation on 5th July, there is a clear opportunity for London to mobilise political will, technology and behavioural change to show the world again how to tackle wider air pollution, climate and sustainability issues.
Camfil UK are proud supporters of Clean Air in London, whose immediate priority is to see that air quality laws are enforced rigorously in London in 2014 (and thereafter). Clean Air in London believes that if we comply fully with relevant laws, Britain can show the world how to tackle successfully air quality, climate change and sustainability issues.
In May this year, Clean Air in London announced that John Tomlinson, former Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee had joined the organisation as an Honorary Founder Supporter.
“Clean Air in London is also pleased that John Tomlinson has accepted an invitation to become an Honorary Founder Supporter of Clean Air in London. As retiring Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee, John has led work in the lead up to 60th anniversary of the first Clean Air Act which was introduced for the City of London Corporation on 5 July 1954. Mr Tomlinson joins others who have been Honorary Founder Supporters since 2007”.
To download the latest review of the Clean Air Act – Call for evidence summary of response, click here.
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