Air Pollution: Death

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Labour, Doncaster North

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of excess deaths in England caused by air pollution.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Labour, Doncaster North

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of air pollution in schools to the overall number of excess deaths due to air pollution in England.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, published a report in August 2018 (Associations of long-term average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide with mortality), stating:

“[…] the range of central estimates of the mortality burden of long-term exposure to the air pollution mixture in 2013 in the UK was an effect equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths at typical ages, associated with a loss of 328,000 – 416,000 life years […]”

The statistics used are not cited as the specific cause of death of any individual, but reflect an equivalency which is used to assess the different impacts of factors contributing to death.

The Committee has not attributed specific morbidity to schools or children in this report, rather to the whole population.

The report can be seen here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734799/COMEAP_NO2_Report.pdf

Air quality is the biggest environmental threat to public health, and so this Government has put in place a £3.5 billion plan to clean up our air. The Department also published our draft Clean Air Strategy for consultation this May, setting out our ambition for cleaner air for all. We will publish the final Strategy later this year.

The Department is also shortly bringing forward a new Environment Bill, which will include strong measures to improve the air we all breathe.

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