Plans to tackle air pollution crisis become clearer

5 May 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Air pollution in London

Following last week’s court order, the Government has published draft plans to tackle the air pollution crisis which contributes to 40,000 deaths a year in the UK. 

The Government’s plans, which will be consulted on until 15 June, includes options for a small scrappage scheme for the most polluting diesel and petrol vehicles, and the creation of more “low emissions zones” where the drivers of the most polluting vehicles are charged to drive in congested areas.

A ‘public health priority’

Commenting on the plans Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, said: “The evidence is clear – tackling air pollution needs to be a public health priority for the next Government. This draft plan is a step in the right direction to making that happen, but we must ensure that the final plan results in a range of measures that will fulfil people’s right to breathe clean, healthy air.”

“Research has shown that air pollution is responsible for 40,000 deaths in the UK every year, with eight in ten caused by a heart attack or stroke.”

Meeting EU limits 

The draft plans are intended to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide in British cities to levels that have been legally required across Europe since 2010. At present 37 out of 43 areas in the UK see pollution levels exceed these legal limits.

The Government’s plan follows a court case brought by environmental lawyers, Client Earth, which found the Government’s plans to tackle the UK’s dirty air to be unsatisfactory. 

Air pollution and heart health

Thanks to your support, our research is helping to explain how air pollution is associated with cardiovascular disease, helping inform strategies for tackling it. 

Research we funded recently found that particles like those emitted by diesel engines can pass from the lungs into the blood. Worryingly these particles build up in diseased blood vessels and may make heart disease even more deadly.  We also produce guidance on dealing with air pollution when living with a heart condition. 

Read more about coping with air pollution when living with a heart condition