Thursday, 10 April 2014

London deaths from air pollution: the shocking truth

Public Health England has released statistics today on the number of people dying because of air pollution.

Across England it is estimated that 25,002 people died because of air pollution in 2010. In London alone it is estimated that nearly 3,400 died.

Jean Lambert, the Green Party's MEP for London and a clean air campaigner, said:
These new statistics, which show that thousands of people are dying because of air pollution, make it clear that urgent action is needed to clean up our air.
The fact that thousands are dying because of air pollution each year should be a source of shame for Ministers. Yet, despite the mounting evidence of this major public health threat, the Government is doing far too little to reduce air pollution.

David Cameron, who last week flippantly blamed the smog entirely on Saharan Dust, should be ashamed of himself. The Government knows that the smog last week was in part caused by the high levels of pollution we have in this country, yet, shamefully, they refuse to accept responsibility. Now that these stats reveal thousands of deaths are caused by air pollution, it is time for Ministers to take this issue seriously and take urgent action to protect people's health.

In Ms Lambert's London constituency 3,389 deaths in 2010 were associated with air pollution.
Public Health England's report estimates that 7.2% of deaths in London were attributable to air pollution.
Ms Lambert, who is a founder supporter of Clean Air in London (2), went on to say:
With almost one in 12 deaths in my London caused by air pollution it is abundantly clear that action is needed.

We need to radically rethink the way they are dealing with air pollution. To protect people's health we need both the UK Government and the Mayor of London to be bold in tackling air pollution - and stop trying to water down the rules.

We need a 'very low emissions zone' for central London, cleaner buses, a strategy to reduce pollution from taxi exhaust, 20mph speed limits as standard in residential areas, and more steps to encourage walking and cycling.

It's time we recognise that air pollution is a political issue. We can clean up our air, but we need to force politicians to take the issue seriously.

The Public Health England report is available here.
Jean's latest report on London's Air Quality is here .
 More information about Clean Air in London is available here .

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