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Lib Dem MEP wins clean air award for work on MOT tests and diesel cars

May 7, 2014 5:31 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat MEP and European Transport Spokesman Phil Bennion has won an award for his work in improving air quality in cities across the UK, after a successful campaign to cut deadly pollution including from diesel-powered vehicles.

Phil Bennion was given the "Clean Air in Cities Award" by campaigning group Clean Air in London after he successfully campaigned to ensure tailpipe exhaust checks are included in MOT tests under EU law. This will help detect harmful emissions and ensure that newer diesel-powered vehicles remain fitted with exhaust filters that prevent deadly particulate pollution being released into the air.

Around a quarter of pollution in the atmosphere in the UK comes from diesel engines, contributing to an estimated 7,000 of the 29,000 premature deaths caused by air pollution each year.

Commenting, Mr Bennion said:

"Air pollution may be invisible but we cannot afford to ignore it. It is a silent killer that causes thousands of early deaths a year in the UK. Tailpipe exhaust checks for vehicles are crucial to make sure that factory-fitted filters remain in place so that deadly particles and pollution do not escape into the air.

"With so many vehicles on our roads coming from across Europe, it is also important that we put in place tough standards across the EU. I am delighted to have received this award, and would like to thank all my colleagues and staff who have helped me in my work on improving air quality standards in Europe."

Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London, said:

"Phil thoroughly deserves his Clean Air in Cities Award after fighting for European wide standards that should help protect people from the most harmful vehicle exhaust. Only last weekend, The Sunday Times highlighted the urgent need for this sort of action to reduce carcinogenic diesel exhaust.

"Clean Air in London was put in touch with Phil by Sarah Ludford, its Honorary Founder Supporter and Liberal Democrat MEP for London, in a clear demonstration of the power and value of a strong Liberal Democrat voice in Europe."