The government published the national plan on 26th July 2017 to improve air quality by tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK.
A cleaner, healthier environment benefits people and the economy. Clean air is vital for people’s health and the environment, essential for making sure our cities are welcoming places for people to live and work now and in the future, and to our prosperity.
Air pollution is recognised as a significant public health issue. In 2008 the burden of particulate air pollution in the UK was estimated to be equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths. The local mortality burden attributed to particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution in Derby city is calculated as being equivalent to 131 deaths and an associated loss to the population of 1,425 life-years.
The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year, on a par with those from smoking and obesity.
Air pollution is associated with a number of effects on health including wheezing, coughing, worsening of respiratory diseases (such as asthma and chronic bronchitis), lung cancer, early-life effects, deaths and hospital admissions from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The most significant effect of air pollution on public health is thought to be due to long-term exposure to particulate air pollution (PM).
The burden of death and ill health arising from poor air quality is experienced by all within the population and occurs across the lifespan, but disproportionately affects individuals and subgroups of the population, including those living in environments close to main transport routes, the most deprived communities, children, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease and respiratory conditions.
Air pollution comes from a range of sources, but transport, especially road transport, is a major contributor. In July 2017, the Government published a new Air Quality Plan. The aim of this is to reduce air pollution levels in problem areas to within EU threshold limits. As a result the Government is going to require certain local authorities, including Derby, to implement Clean Air Zones.
A scoping study is currently underway to determine the location and specification of the Clean Air Zone for Derby.