The UK’s highest court has ruled that the government must take immediate action to cut air pollution.
The Supreme Court Justices ruled yesterday in a unanimous decision, that the new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address the issue of air pollution.
The ruling is a significant victory for campaigners, who began legal action after the UK breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air. Diesel vehicles are a key source of so-called NOx emissions, and NO2 is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses. The Environment Department said work had already been started on revised plans to meet EU targets on NO2. Continue reading →
28 April 2015 – A staggering US$ 1.6 trillion is the economic cost of the approximate 600 000 premature deaths and of the diseases caused by air pollution in the WHO European Region in 2010, according to the first-ever study of these costs conducted for the Region. The amount is nearly equivalent to one tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the entire European Union in 2013.
The new study was published today by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a 3-day high-level meeting on environment and health in Europe opens. Over 200 representatives from European countries and international and nongovernmental organizations gather in Haifa, Israel, on 28–30 April 2015 to look at achievements, gaps and challenges and set future priorities.
Evidence shows that air pollution at current levels in European cities is responsible for a significant burden of deaths, hospital admissions and exacerbation of symptoms. WHO/Europe works to make sure that the available evidence on the health risks of air pollution is used in public debate and in policy-making.
The air we breathe contains emissions from motor vehicles, industry, heating and commercial sources, as well as tobacco smoke and household fuels. Air pollution harms human health, particularly in those already vulnerable because of their age or existing health problems. Continue reading →
The Building and Environmental Services Association Indoor Air Quality group was called to address increasing concern in the health implications of being exposed to poor indoor air quality. Representatives from the air movement industry, CIBSE, B&ES attended with BSRIA and other members of the academic community are expected to participate in this group.
The meeting reflected the concern on indoor exposure to air pollution recently expressed by Joan Walley MP: Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee who said:
“We know that there are risks of exposure to poor air quality, to nitrogen dioxide and to particulates. These pollutants are having a large effect on children’s health and if you look at the long term, if you look at this as a whole, then you have to start to question the cost of not taking preventative measures of these kinds.”
She also said:
“There is a public health crisis in terms of poor air quality. There are nearly as many deaths now caused by air pollution as there are from smoking, so the main thing is we stop a new generation of children being exposed.”
She added that “well over a thousand” schools were already near major roads and that it “made sound economic sense” to filter the air coming into the buildings.
This is the first time officially that a firm government link has been made between poor indoor air quality and high levels of traffic air pollution.
Schools and Hospitals were identified as being of high importance and a priority for action to provide an effective haven against daily exposure to traffic air pollution.
A presentation was made by Peter Dyment of Camfil to the group to emphasize how extreme the air pollution is in London and how high the concentrations of traffic pollution can be present without people being aware or making the link to their own health risk.
On a bad air pollution day in central London, even well specified and well maintained air filters in building air systems will struggle to clean the air sufficiently to make it healthy for people to breathe.
In these situations a range of actions could be recommended that could include improving the effectiveness of existing filter systems or the additional use of standalone air purifiers.