MPs start battle to persuade government to pass ‘Ella’s Law’

Londoner Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who died from dangerous levels of air pollution in 2013 (PA Media)

MEPs launched a Communal room campaign to persuade the government to back ‘Ella’s Law’ to tackle toxic air in London and other parts of Britain.

Green deputy Caroline Lucas defends the new legislation proposed in the Commons after its approval by the Lords.

The bill is named after Ella Adoo Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old girl who died of an asthma attack in 2013.

Ella, who lived near South Circular Road in Lewisham, southeast London, became the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as the cause of death.

The new law would make breathing clean air a human right.

It would also require the government to adopt a target to reduce PM2.5 tiny particle pollution to 10µg/m3 by 2030, the same target as the EU.

However, Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has proposed extending the deadline to 2040, despite ministers saying they will not lower environmental standards after Brexit.

The move was criticized by the government’s own eco-watchdog, the Environmental Protection Board, before Ms Coffey confirmed the new target.

PM2.5 pollution is particularly harmful because it can seep deep into the lungs and heart system.

Ms Lucas, Labor and Liberal Democrat MPs put forward an early day motion urging the government to back the bill.

“This would ensure the human right to breathe clean air and thereby prevent the deaths of children and other vulnerable people while helping to protect the environment and mitigate climate change,” they said.

Ms Lucas added: “Air pollution is a silent killer of thousands and an insidious threat to the health of millions.

“Clean air is not, and should never be, just a ‘good to have’. When the alternative of dirty, toxic, carcinogenic smog takes such a toll on so many lives, clean air must be a human right.

“I look forward to defending Ella’s law in the House of Commons – and I urge all MPs to support it, to ensure that tragic deaths like Ella’s never happen again.”

The EDM has already been signed by 23 MPs including Marsha De Cordova (Battersea), John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington), Dawn Butler (Brent Central), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) and Daisy Cooper (St Albans).

Ella’s mother, Rosamund Adoo Kissi-Debrah, is urging the government to back the new bill which was introduced as a private member’s bill by Green Party counterpart Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb in the Lords, where she went through all her legislative steps.

It also includes other clauses such as requiring public bodies to review and monitor pollution limits, with the aim of achieving clean air within five years, and tackling mold in homes. .

Ministers defended the 2040 PM2.5 target, arguing that not all parts of the country could achieve it by 2030.

EDMs are used to raise awareness of an issue in the Communes

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