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Talk: The Ecology of Portsdown Hill, by Richard Jones, The area's Countryside Officer

How bad is air pollution in the UK?

By Roger Harrabin


The government must devise a new plan to clean the air after losing two court cases. As part of the So I Can Breathe series, we examine air pollution in the UK. Who is most to blame and what should be done?

How bad is UK air pollution?

Air pollution is a major contributor to ill health in the UK, but it’s hard to say exactly by how much.

Dirty air doesn’t directly kill people. But it’s estimated in the UK to contribute to the shortening of the lives of around 40,000 people a year, principally by undermining the health of people with heart or lung problems.

How accurate are media headlines about 40,000 deaths?

Headlines claiming that pollution kills 40,000 are just wrong – it’s more subtle than that. It’s also wrong to say pollution in the UK is rising.

The 40,000 pollution-related deaths figure is not a count of actual deaths – it’s a statistical construct, with a lot of uncertainty involved.

Government advisers say the 40,000 number might be a sixth as big – or twice as big.

Pollution clearly is a problem, though. And, remember, it doesn’t just contribute to early deaths, it also compromises the health of people suffering from ailments like asthma and hay fever.

Is pollution increasing?

Continue reading How bad is air pollution in the UK?

Theresa May must not sacrifice environmental laws after Brexit, warn leading climate groups

The Greener UK coalition – comprised of 13 advocacy groups – says Britain is already failing in its duty to protect the environment

Published on The Independent website on the 21st February 2017


Theresa May must not allow Britain’s environmental laws to be undermined during Brexit negotiations, a coalition of leading UK and international campaign groups, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the National Trust, has said.

The group has published a manifesto calling on the Government to guarantee protections for the environment as part of its plans for leaving the EU.

They call on the Government to ensure that all existing EU laws are fully converted into domestic law in the UK.

Greener UK’s coalition of 13 advocacy groups warns that Britain is already failing in its duty to safeguard the environment and caution the Government not to allow a vacuum to emerge in the oversight and enforcement of environment legislation once it severs ties with Brussels.

Click Here to read the full story on the Independent website.