Improving air quality Contents


Air pollution cuts short an estimated 40,000 lives across the country each year, costing the UK an annual £20 billion.1 Children, the elderly, and those with existing medical conditions are at the greatest risk. The UN special rapporteur recently said he was “alarmed that despite repeated judicial instruction, the UK government continues to flout its duty to ensure adequate air quality and protect the rights to life and health of its citizens. It has violated its obligations”.2 The detrimental effects on air quality from a series of policies by successive governments over many years has led to a number of court cases against the UK Government. There is an urgent need for national leadership and consensus-building to bring about a step change in how the problem of air quality is tackled.

The Government cannot continue to put public health at risk. It needs to:

1 Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Every breath we take, February 2016, p. xiii

2 Baskut Tuncak, statement, September 2017

Published: 15 March 2018