LONDON, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Britain's environment secretary Michael Gove launched Monday a world leading plan to tackle air pollution.
The British government said its ambitious new Clean Air Strategy will clean up the air and save lives.
Measures set out in the new plan will cut the costs of air pollution to society by nearly 2.2 billion U.S. dollars every year by 2020, by over 6.6 billion dollars every year from 20200, said the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
New measures come on top of a commitment to halve the number of people living in areas breaching WHO guidelines on PM by 2025. The UK is the first major economy to adopt air quality goals based on WHO recommendations, going far beyond EU requirements.
Britain is also committed to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040. But the Clean Air Strategy sets out a program of work across government, industry and society to reduce emissions coming from a wide range of sources.
These include increasingly popular domestic burning on stoves and open fires, now the single biggest source of particulate matter emissions in Britain.
Britain is also taking action to reduce air pollution from agriculture which is responsible for 88 percent of ammonia emissions.
Launching the Clean Air Strategy, Gove said: "While air quality has improved significantly in recent years, air pollution continues to shorten lives, harm our children and reduce quality of life.
"We must take strong, urgent action. Our ambitious strategy includes new targets, new powers for local government and confirms that our forthcoming Environment Bill will include new primary legislation on air quality."
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: "The United Kingdom's Clean Air Strategy will not only help to protect the health of millions of people, but is also an example for the rest of the world to follow."