William Eichler 22 May 2018

Whitehall launches tool to measure air pollution

The Government’s public health body has launched a new tool to help councils calculate the potential costs of air pollution.

A new report from Public Health England (PHE) has revealed the health and social care costs of air pollution in England could reach £5.3bn by 2035. Last year, the costs were £42.88m.

It is estimated air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths every year.

‘Air pollution is a growing threat to the public’s health, evidence shows it has a strong causal association with coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and childhood asthma,’ said Professor Paul Cosford, medical director and director of health protection at PHE.

‘PHE has created a new air pollution tool so, for the first time, local authorities can calculate the cost of air pollution, providing impetus to act to improve air quality.’

Councils will be able to use the tool to estimate the impact on health and the savings to the NHS and social care under different air pollution scenarios.

The tool was launched to coincide with the Government’s new clean air strategy.

Secretary of state for health and social care, Jeremy Hunt said: ‘Air pollution is contributing to a national health crisis. If we fail to take decisive action, we risk more of our children suffering from asthma, and patients needlessly ending up in hospital.

‘Our health service can only go so far in treating the conditions that dirty air can contribute to, and we have a responsibility to stop this issue at source.

‘Today’s Clean Air Strategy and Air Pollution Tool do just that, taking a giant step towards cleaning up our air for good.’

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