Air Pollution: Finance

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st November 2011.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the monetary value of benefits to public health for each pound spent on improving air quality.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

A number of studies have been undertaken to assess the total costs and benefits of air quality controls. The most recent comprehensive assessment was the Evaluation of the Air Quality Strategy, a report presented to DEFRA in 2004.

This evaluated a range of air quality policies covering both industrial and transport measures. It estimated the total cost of the measures at £4 to £6 billion and the benefits at £14 to £69 billion, yielding a benefit cost ratio of between 2.3:1 and 17.2:1. It is important to note that it is not currently possible to quantify all the public health or environmental benefits of improved air quality.

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