As we rebuild our economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Ministers will continue to shape a cleaner, greener and more resilient society.
While early signs show air pollution has dropped during these unprecedented times, I am pleased that the Government has launched a call for evidence to ensure the full impact that coronavirus is having on air quality can be understood for future policy development. The independent Air Quality Expert Group are currently reviewing and producing a report which will be published in due course, and I look forward to reading it.
The Government is also committed to taking action on PM 2.5. This is a miniscule form of atmospheric particle matter which, whilst invisible to the human eye, presents serious health risks. These particles are produced through burning fossil fuels, which creates chemicals and gases that pollute the air. PM 2.5 presents numerous risks to humans, including asthma attacks, shortness of breath and reduced heart and lung function.
Ministers are developing a clear evidence-based process for setting the fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) target introduced in the Environment Bill. This process will involve thorough analysis and independent expert advice, considering economic, social and technological factors. It will also involve detailed analysis to assess what additional action would be needed to achieve potential targets. I am pleased that both Parliament and the public will have the opportunity to provide input to the development of an ambitious and achievable target.