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World Environment Day 2019

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An image of a green landscape with clouds above in the blue sky.

Today marks the United Nations’ World Environment Day, an annual event to raise awareness globally of the need to protect our environment.

This year’s theme is air quality and there is coverage in today’s Times of comments made by David Boyd, the UN’s special representative on human rights and the environment. Mr Boyd has called on countries to take urgent action on air pollution and criticised the UK government for ‘failing its citizens by producing air quality plans so weak that they breached its legal duty’.

The UK government agrees that strong action is required to tackle air pollution, which is why our Clean Air Strategy sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of government to improve air quality. It has been praised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an “example for the rest of the world to follow”.

Current levels of air pollution in the UK meet all legal limits, apart from NO2 which is why we have a dedicated plan in place setting out how we will achieve compliance in the shortest possible time.

Our comprehensive Environment Bill will include measures to clean our air, give legal force to our Clean Air Strategy, and make the UK a world leader in environmental protection.

In addition to our work on tackling air pollution, we have made huge strides in environmental protection over the last 12 months from expanding the UK’s Blue Belt to introducing one of the world’s toughest ivory bans.

We know there is more to do which is why we have made 2019 our Year of Action, with plans to put our landmark 25 Year Environment Plan on statutory footing through the first Environment Bill in 20 years.

Over the last 12 months, the government has:

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  1. Comment by Jacqueline Wall posted on

    Incredible to read this. The last open space - a virgin Glebe field - in our village in Cornwall - right next to the peaceful cemetery - is being turned into a 33-housing estate shortly after a four-year battle to save it... It will produce at least 66 extra cars in the already struggling village roads and surrounding areas. The Bristol government inspector overturned planning refusal by Cornwall Council. Last week this Gov blog site told us about the new 'plant-a-tree' government sponsored scheme Minister Gove has just launched and now we see this environmental blog today. Seems to me that the government right-hand has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the left-hand is doing.