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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Clean air zone in EU cities (debate)

  Rory Palmer (S&D). – Mr President, 400 000 people a year die prematurely in Europe because of air pollution, 40 000 in the UK. So let’s be clear at the start of this mandate that protecting public health and removing environmental risks to health should be one of our first and foremost priorities and it’s why we must demand more ambition on climate change and sustainability from Ms von der Leyen. And it is why I speak today to remind us that Brexit won’t just be an economic disaster for my country, it will be an environmental disaster as well. It is also why I stand today to support my Spanish colleagues on this side of the House in their concern and anger about what is happening in Madrid. ‘Madrid Central’ is Europe’s most successful clean air zone. We should be building on that progress and learning from that progress.

I also applaud the work happening in cities like Leicester and Nottingham in my constituency: big efforts to reduce vehicle emissions and promote sustainable transport. Finally, when positive environmental progress is attacked and undermined we must defend that progress together. The new right-wing populism we see today is a real and present danger to progressive environmentalism, so if we are serious about that better carbon neutral future with clean air for our kids to breathe, then we must speak out when that progress is threatened. We must defend that progress we are making, and we must win the argument against those who want to trash the future and who want to turn back the clock on the progress we are making.

Last updated: 18 July 2019Legal notice