Air Pollution

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of increased cost of health problems caused by air pollution as a proportion of GDP since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and what steps he is taking to reduce air pollution.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have not assessed the increased cost of health problems caused by air pollution as a proportion of GDP since the start of the covid-19 outbreak. However, in 2018 Public Health England reported that the cumulative costs to the health and social care service from air pollution will be £5.3 billion by 2035, and their evidence shows that a reduction of 1 µg/m 3 of PM 2.5 in England in a single year would prevent 9,000 cases of asthma, 50,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 4000 lung cancers and 15,000 strokes in the period until 2035.

We are committed to tackling air pollution in order to improve public health and the environment. This is stated in our Clean Air Strategy of 2019, which the World Health Organization lauded as world leading. Our landmark Environment Bill is currently going through Parliament, and in it we are committing to an ambitious new air quality target on PM 2.5, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health.

We have also put in place a £3.5 billion plan to tackle roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

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