The European Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, has referred six countries, including the UK, to the European Court of Justice over failure to tackle illegal levels of air pollution. According to the EU Commission, the UK has failed to take appropriate measures to limit and reduce levels of dangerous air pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide, as required by EU law.
Air pollution is a serious health risk, which has been linked to heart disease, chronic lung disease, asthma, lung cancer, diabetes and obesity. In the UK, air pollution is attributable to around 40,000 early deaths and costs billions of pounds in health impacts each year.
Laurie Laybourn-Langton, Director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, said:
“Air pollution is an entirely avoidable health emergency, with, for example, recent studies showing that the UK could halve nitrogen dioxide air pollution if it meets its legally binding climate change targets. As air pollution-induced sickness grows, it is critical that more is done, and hopefully the Commission’s announcement will spur the government to take more radical action. The health costs grow each day. And although no level of exposure is entirely safe, stronger limits on air pollutants could unlock enormous health benefits and economic savings.”
17 May 2018
- To organise an interview with Laurie Laybourn-Langton, please contact Viivi Erkkila, Communications Manager, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change at email@example.com or +44 (0) 7792454130.
- The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change brings together the UK’s leading health institutions, including the Royal Medical Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal Society of Medicine, the British Medical Association, the Faculty of Public Health, the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, The Lancet, and the British Medical Journal. It advocates for responses to climate change that protect and promote public health. http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/
- UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and the Lancet Countdown, 30 April 2018, Major air pollutant could be halved by 2050, http://www.ukhealthalliance.org/lancet-countdown-uk-case-study