Air Pollution: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 15 January 2021.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the effect of air quality on the severity of covid-19 symptoms.

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

Defra continues to work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) regarding the relationship between air quality and health, recently considering the specific relationship between Covid-19 deaths and air quality. I met with Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DHSC, to discuss this important issue on 13 November 2020. We will continue working closely on this issue, as our understanding of the role air quality has to play in the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, taking into account the many other factors influencing health inequalities.

Officials and appointed experts from Defra, Public Health England and the Office for National Statistics delivered a project to describe this relationship. The results and methodology were shared with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), and a summary of the findings were published in August 2020 at the following URL:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ons-air-pollution-and-covid-19-mortality-rates-in-england-6-august-2020

The methodology used in this analysis project was also published at the following URL:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/methodologies/coronaviruscovid19relatedmortalityratesandtheeffectsofairpollutioninengland

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