The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London’s lethal air is a public health crisis – it leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year, as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness.
“An issue as serious as this requires urgent innovative action which is why on top of bold measures like the ULEZ and cleaning up our bus fleet, I’m hosting an International Clean Air Summit this week, bringing together city leaders, ministers, global NGOs and industry representatives. We need government to match London’s ambition and introduce a legally binding target of meeting World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines by 2030 so we can clean up our filthy air once and for all.”
Dr Heather Walton from King’s said: “The impact of air pollution on our health has been crucial in justifying air pollution reduction policies for some time, and mostly concentrates on effects connected to life-expectancy. However, health studies show clear links with a much wider range of health effects. This project provides short statements of fact, backed up by supporting evidence.
“We have released a sample of these statements about the effects in a number of UK cities, ahead of publication of the full report in November. This wider range of impacts on our health provides additional evidence of the important need for further action to reduce air pollution.”
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “As these new figures show, air pollution is now causing thousands of strokes, cardiac arrests and asthma attacks, so it’s clear that the climate emergency is in fact also a health emergency.
“Since these avoidable deaths are happening now – not in 2025 or 2050 – together we need to act now. For the NHS that is going to mean further comprehensive action building on the reduction of our carbon footprint of one fifth in the past decade. So our NHS energy use, supply chain, building adaptations and our transport will all need to change substantially.”
The data is a subset of material which will be published in an upcoming report, Personalising The Health Impacts of Air Pollution, due out in November 2019. The initial report is available on the King’s website.