Last month the Minister for the Environment, Michael Meacher MP, announced an immediate review of this strategy, accusing the "last government of failing to tackle pollution successfully despite its `green' rhetoric".
If the present government is to fare any better, it must take urgent action to cut further harmful emissions from road traffic. The measures needed are well understood: national traffic reduction targets; road tax linked to emissions for cars; tax breaks for cleaner fuels such as gas and ultra-low sulphur diesel; taxing private non-residential parking; congestion charging and a national vehicle identification scheme to allow the exclusion of older, dirtier vehicles from polluted urban areas; the power for local authorities to require bus and taxi operators to meet enhanced emissions standards, and ensure that large employers draw up green commuter plans.
Reviews, consultations and photo-opportunities are no substitute for effective action to protect public health.
Dr MALCOLM EAMES
National Society for Clean Air
and Environmental Protection