Diesel cars and buses should be scrapped, Huddersfield’s MP has said.
Veteran politician Barry Sheerman has called for polluting diesel vehicles to be taken off our streets amid angry exchanges in parliament.
His comments came in a House of Commons debate on clean air with MPs lining up to slam the government for not doing more about the issue.
Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney called for a “clean air zone” in Huddersfield while Mr Sheerman attacked the government’s lack of action.
He said: “No-one in their right minds would buy a diesel car now.
“We need a scrappage scheme to get the filthy, belching cars and buses out of our towns and cities.
“We are poisoning children. That is why we need action now.”
The debate on air quality came amid news that the High Court had ruled the government needed to do more to protect the public and provide financial incentives for people to switch to cleaner vehicles.
Mr McCartney demanded that air quality was put at the forefront of planning reforms and attacked Kirklees Council’s plans to allow huge housing developments on green field and green belt sites.
He said: “Labour-run Kirklees Council keeps forcing through huge housing developments on greenfield sites in my constituency, especially around Lindley, with scant regard for the impact on air quality.
“Can we please put air quality at the forefront of planning reforms and can we have a clean air zone in Huddersfield?”
Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment Rachael Maskell MP highlighted the ‘national scandal’ of 50,000 early deaths from air pollution.
She called on the Government to ensure air quality laws are protected when the UK leaves the European Union and demanded a comprehensive plan to clean up the country’s illegal air.
The last Labour Government introduced incentives that encouraged motorists to move to diesel but in recent years it has been discovered that they are far more polluting and damaging to health than petrol vehicles.
James Thornton, chief executive of clean air campaign group ClientEarth, said: “We are delighted that so many MPs for across all parties agree with us that we need urgent action from the government to clean up this urgent public health crisis.
“This goes right across government so the Prime Minister must take personal control to deal with illegal levels of pollution and prevent tens of thousands of additional early deaths in the UK.
“The High Court has ruled that more urgent action must be taken.
“MPs agree. Now we need the Prime Minister to step up.”