Pollution (Belfast)

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 19th January 2005.

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Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate the number of deaths brought forward in 2003–04 (a) due to the overall pollution in Belfast and (b) as a direct result of pollution from Belfast City Airport, using the same methodology as the 1998 Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants report on The Quantification of the Effects of Air Pollution on Health in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

Calculations carried out by the Government consultants for 2003–04 have not yet been completed. Calculations are available for 2002.

These calculations follow the methods recommended in 1998 by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) in their report on The Quantification of the Effects of Air Pollution on Health in the United Kingdom. Deaths brought forward due to PM10 were 166 in Northern Ireland as a whole with 34 in Belfast city district. The deaths brought forward from emissions from the airport are not quantifiable given the scale and the number of emission sources that contribute to local air quality in the vicinity of the airport.

The pollutant PM10 has been chosen to calculate the number of deaths brought forward as it encompasses the majority of health effects related to ambient air pollution. In addition, the PM10 COMEAP coefficient is considered to be more robust.

COMEAP plans to revisit the 1998 report on the Quantification of the Effects of Air Pollution on Health in the United Kingdom (commonly referred to as the QUARK report) next year. The QUARK 2 group will start work early in 2005 with a report expected by mid-2006.

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