Andrew Gwynne MP has backed calls made by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to act on air pollution.
Outdoor air pollution contributes to an estimated 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. Globally cardiovascular disease accounts for an estimated 80% of all such premature deaths and considerable economic costs – estimated to be around £20 billion per year. (1)
Pioneering research funded by the BHF has identified that the millions of people in the UK living with cardiovascular conditions may be at a significant risk of suffering a coronary event and hospitalisation from exposure to high levels of traffic related air pollution.
The British Heart Foundation recommend 5 steps to reduce the chance of fatality as a consequence of air pollution:
- Adoption of WHO Guidelines within a Clean Air Act
- The introduction of charging Clean Air Zones in all local authorities identified as in breach of targets, as a means of providing a population level change in road use in the UK’s urban centres
- The introduction of a targeted diesel scrappage scheme to remove the worst pollution personal diesel vehicles on the streets of the UK and incentivise the uptake of Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEVs)
- Promotion of an investment in ULEVs, including improved chargeng infrastructure and financial incentives to support the transition from combustion engines
- Tighter Euro Emissions Standards
Andrew Gwynne MP:
“The importance of BHF’s campaign for clean cannot be overstated. Around 7 million people live with heart and circulatory disease in the UK, it is clear that more must be done.
“I wholly back the BHF’s recommended action to protect us all from the potentially life threatening affects of traffic related air pollution.”
Professor David Newby of BHF Centre of Research Excellence said:
“In the 1950s, when there was a lot of smog, the problem used to be that particles were big and they got stuck in the upper airways. Now these nanoparticles go straight past, deep into the lunchs, even into the bloodstream.
“We have a clear link between air pollution levels and heart attacks, and BHF-funded studies have shown that particulate matter in the air is a major cause of this.”
1: Royal College of Physicians (2016) Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution. London RCP p.82