Fresh reports highlight London’s efforts to deal with growing air quality problems and reduce air pollution-related deaths

In July, King’s College of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) released two reports commenting on the negative health impacts of air pollution in London and the Mayor’s on-going efforts and progress to deal with the city’s air quality problems.

9500 deaths in London

Nearly 9,500 deaths from long-term exposure to NO2 and PM2.5

For the first time in the world, King’s College London, commissioned by the Greater London Authority and Transport for London, has used emerging techniques to calculate the health impacts associated with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in London. This new study shows that in 2010 there was the equivalent of up to 5,900 deaths across London associated with long-term exposure to NO2.

At the same time, deaths associated with long-term exposure to PM2.5 were recalculated from 4,300 (in 2008 based on 2006 concentrations) to 3,500 (in 2010). The PM2.5 and NO2 figures can be combined to create a total figure of up to 9,400 equivalent deaths in 2010*. Continue reading

HSE launches new workplace health expert committee

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has appointed a new committee to provide independent expert knowledge and advice on workplace health.

workplace health

The workplace health expert committee (WHEC) will be made up of nine members who will provide expert opinion on emerging issues and trends, new evidence relating to existing issues and, on the quality and relevance of the evidence base on workplace health issues.

Working under the leadership of an independent expert Chair, the WHEC will provide scientific and medical advice to HSE’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research Professor Andrew Curran and to HSE’s Board. Continue reading

Report presses London to curb diesel-related air pollution

In the UK, a newly released report from the London Assembly Environment Committee examines London’s efforts to cut pollution from diesel cars, lorries, buses and taxis.

shutterstock_145590403Titled “Driving away from diesel: Reducing air pollution from diesel vehicles”, the report focuses on the impact of diesel vehicles on London’s air quality and blames the combustion of diesel for much of the capital’s air pollution problems.

The publication notes that diesel-powered vehicles alone are responsible for around 40 percent of London’s nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and partly blames government polices to encourage more fuel-efficient vehicles for indirectly incentivizing diesel use. This drive to dieselize fleets in Britain has left “a generation of dirty vehicles on our roads”, the Environment Committee states. The dieselization of the vehicle fleet is also continuing: 50 percent of all cars sold last year in the UK were diesel, compared to about 30 percent ten years ago. Continue reading