In a joint letter to The Times, Living Streets has said the Government must not delay on taking urgent steps to protect people's health from illegal levels of air pollution. 

Dear Editor,

Further to your report “Deadly diesel particles from toxic air penetrate the heart” (News, Apr 27), the government must take urgent steps to protect people’s health from the illegal and dirty air that we are forced to breathe in the UK.

We welcome the news that the government is now being made to publish its new air quality plan, which it had wanted to delay until after the election.

Air pollution is a public health issue, not a political one: it affects all our health. Children, those with a lung condition and the elderly are hit hardest. We urge all the parties to include ambitious promises in their manifestos to clean up the air we breathe. We need strong action on diesel vehicle emissions, and a carefully designed vehicle scrappage scheme to clean up buses and help those in greatest need to trade in polluting old cars.

Measures are also needed to enable and encourage us all to make far more of our journeys on foot, by bicycle or on public transport.

For the sake of our nation’s health and wellbeing, this action must not be delayed any longer.

Dr Penny Woods, British Lung Foundation; Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport; Anne Godfrey, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health; Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK; Xavier Brice, Sustrans; Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth; John Sauven, Greenpeace; Joe Irvin, Living Streets; Dr Ashok Sinha, London Cycling Campaign; Samantha Heath, London Sustainability Exchange