From Russian Winds to Cruise Ships: Exploring the Local Problems Driving the UK’s Air Pollution Crisis
You’ve probably seen the startling headlines — “Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits”,“Air pollution causes nearly 15,000 cases of type 2 diabetes in UK each year”, “Young girl’s death first to be linked to illegal levels of air pollution”.
It’s obvious that the UK has a major air pollution problem.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation found 47 UK towns and cities had either reached at or had gone beyond air pollution limits. The issue has been widely covered, with the NGOs, the press and opposition politicians quick to criticise government inaction.
The backdrop to all this is the ‘dieselgate’ scandal. As far back as 2015, car manufacturers including German giant VW were accused of cheating emissions tests, with their vehicles found to be much dirtier than the companies suggested. Ever since, cars’ contribution to the UK’s poor air quality has come under deep scrutiny.
But it can’t just be cars, can it?
After three years, countless pages of analysis and enquiry and multiple court cases, policymakers must finally be getting on top of the ‘car issue’, right? Surely, something else must be driving the country’s terrible air quality?
DeSmog UK spent six months trawling through local data and air quality reports to find places where air pollution wasn’t just a road traffic problem. There weren’t many.
The problem is that almost all roads are clogged up by commuter and industrial traffic.