Government must do more to tackle air pollution, says High Court

2 November 2016        

Category: BHF Comment

Air pollution levels in UK

The Government must do more to tackle harmful air pollution, a High Court ruled today.

 A judge declared the Environment Secretary's current Air Quality Plan (AQP) legally flawed and declared that it "must be quashed" and replaced by a modified, improved plan.

Our research has shown that long term exposure to air pollution can increase the risk of stroke and make existing heart conditions worse.

Our Associate Medical Director, Professor Jeremy Pearson, said: “Following today’s ruling we are ready to work with Governments across the UK to make tackling harmful air pollution a top priority for protecting the nation’s health.

"Our research has shown that air pollution, particularly from small particles in diesel fumes, increases the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes. For the seven million people across the UK living with cardiovascular disease, improving the nation’s air quality will help to improve quality of life and protect against further ill health."

Increased risk of death

Research from the University of Edinburgh, that we funded, has shown that recent exposure to air pollution increases the risk of hospitalisation or death from stroke. 

The research collected data from across six million strokes around the world and showed short-term exposure to four different types of pollution increased the risk of hospitalisation or death from stroke in the following week.