City mayors representing more than 17 million people across the UK are urging Boris Johnson to commit to tougher air pollution targets after the inquest into the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah.
The cross-party group, including the Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Conservative mayor of the West of England combined authority, Tim Bowles, have signed a joint letter along with city leaders from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and the North of Tyne to urge Boris Johnson to enshrine in law a commitment to achieve World Health Organization air pollution guidelines by 2030.
Ella’s mother, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, signed the letter after a coroner ruled that illegal levels of air pollution had caused the death of her daughter in 2013. She called on the prime minister to act immediately to protect the lives and wellbeing of other young people across the country.
“We need to take action now which will have long-term benefits,” she said. “People act as though we have time – we don’t have time because children are continuing to actually die.”
The letter, which has also been signed by a range of business leaders, is calling for a £1.5bn boost to government spending on measures to improve air quality across the UK and for WHO targets to be included in the delayed environment bill.
According to research by UK100, a group of more than 100 local authorities that coordinated the letter, the money could fund the removal of nearly half a million of the most polluting cars and vans from the road and incentivise people into cleaner vehicles, p