The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) today warmly welcomes the expansion of Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) in London.
While CIEH recognises the political sensitivity surrounding this issue, with it being a considerable issue in last month’s by-election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, the expansion is a positive step forward in the battle against air pollution.
Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) play a critical role in enforcing air quality regulations, often working behind the scenes to ensure that standards are upheld for the betterment of public health. The expansion of ULEZ means that a more significant area of London will benefit from improved air quality, allowing residents and visitors to breathe cleaner air and leading to fewer air pollution-related health complications.
Studies have consistently shown the effectiveness of ULEZ in reducing air pollution. Fewer emissions lead to reduced instances of respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, and premature deaths. With the NHS already stretched, the monetary savings from fewer hospital admissions and treatments will be considerable.
CIEH appreciates the collective effort from all stakeholders and continues to support the initiatives that prioritise the health and wellbeing of the UK population.
Dr Phil James, Chief Executive Officer at the CIEH remarked:
"The expansion of ULEZ in London signifies not just a move towards a cleaner city but an investment in public health. Every step taken towards better air quality translates to fewer hospital admissions, reduced strain on the NHS, and ultimately, more lives saved.
Air pollution from cars and vans in the UK is costs nearly £6bn every year, according to a 2018 report by researchers at the universities of Oxford and Bath. So, while we acknowledge the complexities and concerns around this decision, the long-term benefits to public health, the environment and our national health service are undeniable."