Stuart Jeffery

Air Pollution

Air: one of the four elements, one of the four humors, it is our inspiration, it is essential for life. Yet we treat the air that we breathe as an invisible dump.

Pollution kills, the science is certain. And the more pollution there is, the higher the number of deaths and rate of disease. While the Clean Air Acts of 1952 and 1993 have made a huge difference to visible pollution in the air, there is still too little action to reduce pollution that is less visible.

Many places in the UK have flouted EU laws on air pollution, and with Brexit there is every chance that pollution may worsen, yet at least 40,000 people die prematurely each year due to air pollution and recent research shows the spikes in deaths on days when pollution peaks.

It’s not all about traffic either, even though the effects of PM2.5 and NOx from vehicles has the biggest impact on health. There is less evidence of the impact of chemicals, such as the perfumes pumped out in public toilets, on health but significant evidence that a large number of people struggle with them.

This is why we need to campaign to reduce air pollution.

FoE have done a great job collating the annual data from councils on air pollution. This is the top 12, the figures are ug/m3 (the legal limit is 40ug/m3):

  1. Chideock Hill, West Dorset 97.7
  2. Station Taxi Rank, Sheffield 91.7
  3. North Street Clock Tower, Brighton 90.8
  4. Neville Street Tunnel, Leeds 88
  5. Strand, City of Westminster 88
  6. Walbrook Wharf, City of London 87
  7. Hickleton opp Fir Tree Close, Doncaster 86
  8. Marylebone Road, City of Westminster 85
  9. Euston Road, London Borough of Camden 82.3
  10. Hickleton, John O’Gaunts, Doncaster 82
  11. Cromwell Rd/ Earls Court Rd, LB Kensington/Chelsea 77.4
  12. Upper Stone St, Maidstone 77.2