Air pollution has been linked to anxiety, depression, attention deficit and dementia
It can mean that children’s lungs never reach full size
It can make thousands of kids and adults reach for inhalers
Join the legal fight for clean air
Illegal and harmful levels of air pollution are harming the health of people across the UK. Legal limits of nitrogen dioxide should have been met in 2010 but successive governments have failed to get a grip on the problem.
Following a legal challenge by ClientEarth, the UK government was ordered by the High Court to produce new improved plans to show how it is going to comply with legal limits of air pollution in the shortest time possible.
ClientEarth believes that the draft air quality plan has some serious problems, which are so bad that the consultation was severely flawed. We encouraged members of the public to respond to the consultation by highlighting its shortcomings. We also asked the High Court to consider our concerns, and a hearing is due in the coming weeks.
We need to see a proper plan to tackle poor air quality in our towns and cities so we can protect people’s health. If the Court does agree with us, then we’ll be in touch to let you know what more you can do to help make sure we’re all able to breathe clean air.
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What’s in the air you’re breathing?
The air you’re breathing right now contains many substances.
Some, like dust and pollen, occur naturally.
Others are caused by human activity and many of these are toxic.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) are two major pollutants.
Road transport is a significant source of NO2 and PM pollution. Diesel vehicles in particular are heavy NO2 emitters.
NO2 is a toxic gas and it exceeds legal limits across the UK.
Polluted air has wide-ranging harmful effects on our health.
Breathing polluted air poses even more serious risks to children, older people and people with existing medical conditions.
In the UK, air pollution is estimated to cause the equivalent of 40,000 early deaths every year – but pollution also affects our health and the quality of our life on a daily basis.
It has been linked to premature births and children developing smaller lungs as they grow up in polluted areas.
It causes cancer. It can also trigger heart attacks and strokes. It aggravates breathing conditions, increasing the risk of asthma attacks leading to more hospital admissions.
There is also a growing body of research linking air pollution to other illnesses, including diabetes, developmental problems for children and suggested links to dementia.
“The world’s largest environmental health risk”
37 of 43 areas in the UK broke air pollution limits in 2015
London breached the annual air pollution limit for 2017 in just five days
Air pollution is not limited to large, busy cities – it affects rural areas too
The health impacts from air pollution cost the UK £20 billion every year…
…that’s equal to around 16% of the current annual NHS budget
Our health is too important to be a postcode lottery
That’s why we’re calling for…
- A comprehensive network of Clean Air Zones (CAZs) across the UK – these must keep the dirtiest vehicles out of the most polluted parts of our towns and cities and champion public transport, walking and cycling.
- Alongside this we need to tackle the perverse fiscal incentives for diesel cars, and support people in switching from dirty diesel vehicles to cleaner forms of transport.
- A new UK Clean Air Act to ensure and preserve our rights in law to breathe clean air.
Sign up below to stay informed. We’ll be in touch to let you know what more you can do to help make sure we’re all able to breathe clean air.