Cleaner air likely to save up to 200 lives

MEP Richard Howitt visits the RSPB in Sandy
MEP Richard Howitt visits the RSPB in Sandy

Nearly 200 lives a year in Bedfordshire could be saved thanks to Euro legislation backed by MEP Richard Howitt.

The Beds Euro MP saw for himself the impact it will have as he was invited to the RSPB Lodge in Sandy, to hear senior staff explain how much cleaner air will have a positive impact.

Mr Howitt was joined by Labour colleague Seb Dance MEP at the nature site to show Seb how a u-turn on new European air pollution legislation will help save lives and protect wildlife.

“As vice chair of the RSPCA I have seen the heartbreaking impact that air pollution can cause to birds, fish and other wildlife when nitrogen, toxic fumes, metals and sulfur are carried by rain, snow, and fog into outdoor areas,” he said.

“I’m delighted to stand together with the RSPB to make a change to air pollution and do my bit for our natural environment.

“I’ve previously helped attract EU funding for RSPB conservation projects and have pushed for tough environmental regulation in Europe like the new air quality directive.”

The Lodge nature reserve opened in 1961 and is the largest stretch of heathland in Bedfordshire at 180 hectares, including five miles of trails.

Heathland is vital for several species of remarkable birds and other wildlife such as the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Mr Dance said: “The work of the RSPB to conserve the natural environment in the UK is of great importance. It’s been a pleasure to visit the lodge to see their work first hand.

“Increasingly, we rely on the EU to legislate on issues of environmental and climate change – for the simple reason that the only way to protect the environment globally is by doing it together.”