UK Government launch new Clean Air Strategy Proposal

22 May 2018        

Category: BHF Comment

Today, the UK Government has published their proposed Clean Air Strategy which will aim to cut air pollution.

a picture showing the view down the river thames with a haze

Growing health threat

Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to public health and the new Government strategy sets out how it aims to reduce human exposure to particulate matter pollution. 

BHF-funded research first identified that even short-term inhalation of elevated concentrations of particulate matter increases the risk of a heart attack occurring within just 24 hours of exposure. Further BHF-funded research has found that particles in diesel exhausts exacerbate the disease atherosclerosis – the furring of the arteries - which can go on to cause heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. 

The new strategy, which is now out for consultation, is a key part of their 25 Year Plan to leave our environment in a better state than we found it. One of their key priorities is to halve the number of people living in locations where concentrations of particulate matter are above the WHO guideline limit of 10 ug/m3 by 2025.

First Step

Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, said: “Our research has shown that outdoor air pollution, particularly from small particles in diesel fumes, increases the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes – the cause of almost six in ten deaths related to outdoor air pollution globally.

“It is therefore reassuring to see that health is a central driver of the draft Clean Air Strategy and it is encouraging that the Government is committed to reducing the number of people exposed to particulate matter by 2025. 

“Recognising World Health Organisation air quality guidelines is a positive step but we want to see these guidelines adopted into UK legislation in order to minimise the devastating health impact of the UK’s toxic air. The BHF looks forward to fully analysing and responding to the Clean Air Strategy.”

Find out more about our latest air pollution research breakthroughs