CIEH supports calls for urgent action to prevent premature deaths from toxic air

12 February 2021, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed a new report from the British Lung Foundation (BLF) and Asthma UK revealing that 6 million people aged over 65 in England are at high risk of lung damage and asthma attacks because of toxic air.

Across the UK, the report also found that a third of people are breathing levels of PM2.5 over what is recommended by the WHO.

The report found that a quarter of all care homes and a third of all GP practices and hospitals in England are in areas where particulate pollution exceeds the recommended limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The charities demand that the government reduce the legal limit for PM2.5 to 10 micrograms in the UK. This comes as MPs have been calling on the UK Government set tougher targets for air pollution.

CIEH has been campaigning for a new Clean Air Act and working with partner organisations in the Healthy Air Campaign, such as Asthma UK and BLF, to improve the Environment Bill which has once again been disappointingly pushed back.

Ross Matthewman, CIEH Head of Policy and Campaigns, said:

“The report calls attention to the dangers of toxic air for the more vulnerable.

We have been campaigning vigorously for the UK Government, and the devolved institutions, to commit to introducing air quality targets, which are legally binding, and commit to reaching World Health Organisation guidelines in the shortest time possible, in order to protect public health.

The Environment Bill is essential to achieving this aim and must not be delayed any further.

With COP26 just around the corner, this Bill was an outstanding chance for the UK Government to showcase its ambition of being a world-leader in environmental protection.

Delaying it further only raises questions about the UK’s commitment to improving our environment.”

Join us at the CIEH Air Quality conference, on 21 April, to discuss these issues further. View the programme and speakers for the day.

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