British Heart Foundation says Ulez will help reduce 36,000 annual UK pollution deaths
Sarah BoseleyLast modified on Sun 7 Apr 2019 22.43 BST
The ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) across London will help reduce the 36,000 deaths caused in the UK every year by outdoor pollution, the British Heart Foundation said as it welcomed the new vehicle charging zone that will launch on Monday.
According to the leading heart charity, a significant proportion of air pollution-related deaths are in the capital, where pollution levels are often at their highest.
Most of these are from heart attacks or stroke, it said.
“The Ulez will help reduce the levels of dangerous pollutants in the air Londoners breathe and crucially, it will help to protect the health of the most vulnerable people across the capital,” said the charity’s chief executive, Simon Gillespie.
“Air pollution is a major threat to the UK’s health, and contributes to thousands of heart attacks and strokes every year. BHF-funded research has shown that tiny particles emitted from diesel vehicles can enter our bloodstream and silently damage our heart and circulatory systems.
“We now need to see other cities across the UK following suit, and more ambitious plans put in place nationally and locally to ensure that everyone gets the right to breathe air that won’t harm them. We need to see this action as soon as possible, beginning with the adoption of World Health Organisation (WHO) air pollution limits into UK law.”
Other medical professionals also support the enforcing of the new zone which will be launched by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on Monday.
Prof Jonathan Grigg of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said it was important in order to protect children’s health.
“Air pollution can have major health implications on the developing child, with early exposure proven to increase the risk of asthma and lung infections and these can be life threatening,” he said.
“Approximately 50% of air pollution comes from road transport and 40% comes from diesel, so the introduction of London’s ultra-low emissions zone on 8 April is extremely welcome. Coupled with this move, we need to see employers and schools encouraging and facilitating better use of public transport and active travel options like walking and cycling. London has some active travel networks which if utilised, not only reduce air pollution but also improve family fitness, which has many positive health benefits.”
The mayor’s office has said that more than 400 schools in London are in areas where the air quality is below recommended levels and that everyone in the capital is exposed to more toxic particles than the WHO says is safe. Around half of emissions from road transport are nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter (PM), it says.
A study published in the Lancet medical journal in November found that the introduction of a low emission zone in London in 2008 had improved air quality by cutting NO2 levels, but had not reduced children’s exposure to particulates. It held out hope that stricter controls might do so. “Interventions that deliver larger reductions in emissions might yield improvements in children’s health,” wrote the authors.
Heart charity urges other cities to follow London’s ultra-low emission zone | Environment | The Guardian
British Heart Foundation says Ulez will help reduce 36,000 annual UK pollution deaths Sarah BoseleyLast modified on Sun 7 Apr 2019 22.43 BST The ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) across London will help reduce the 36,000 deaths caused in the UK every year by outdoor pollution, the British Heart Foundation said as it welcomed the new… [Read More]