Published today: interventions to improve ambient air quality and public health by the UK Government

11.03.2019

Exposure to air pollution in the UK has an effect on annual mortality equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths.

Today the UK government has published a 'Review of interventions to improve outdoor air quality and public health.' An IOM led consortium was commissioned to carry out four rapid evidence assessments of planning, transport, agriculture, and behavioural Interventions aiming to improve ambient air quality.

Sotiris Vardoulakis, IOM, Research Director says "Our reviews are the first in recent decades to cover most relevant sources, pollutants and evidence specialisms, and support the development of UK air quality policy. In the past reviews were limited either by pollutant or source, this comprehensive evidence base further informs the recently published national Clean Air Strategy 2019."

The Public Health England report published today provides evidence-based advice focused on actions available to local authorities and national actions required to support them, on the most effective practical actions to reduce air pollution and its impact on health.

The Clean Air Strategy, which was published in January 2019, sets out plans to meet ambitious legally-binding international targets to reduce emissions of the 5 most damaging air pollutants by 2020 and 2030. It will be followed imminently by a wider Environment Bill.

"In amongst the complex wealth of evidence outlined in the report, there remains a simple truth, that the evidence and technology are available to make delivery of cleaner air feasible for all of us. A key challenge to this is the commonly-held view that actions to reduce air pollution run counter to economic growth and development. In my view, the evidence presented in this report highlights that this is not the case."
Professor Paul Cosford, Director of Health Protection and Medical Director, Public Health England.

Click here to read the review

About the Author
Prof Sotiris Vardoulakis Research Director

Sotiris is Director of Research at the Institute of Occupational Medicine. A physicist with a background in exposure science, he has over 20 years’ experience in air pollution, climate change and environmental health research, policy and practice. Previously he was Head of the Environmental Change Department, and Leader of the Air Pollution and Climate Change Group at Public Health England. He also held positions at the Australian National University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Birmingham University, University of Aveiro (Portugal), Lewes District Council (UK), and INERIS institute (France). He served as Topic Expert Member of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee on Outdoor Air Pollution. He was the Health Sector Champion and one of the main authors of the first national UK Climate Change Risks Assessment (CCRA), and contributing author to the 2nd CCRA and National Adaptation Programme. He has advised the UK Government, the World Health Organisation, the European Parliament, and other national and international bodies on the health effects of air pollution and climate change, and on environmental policy and sustainable development. His research interests include air pollution, climate change, urban health, exposure science, health impact assessment, environmental and occupational epidemiology, sustainable development, public health, and risk communication. He is Honorary Professor at the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at Exeter University Medical School. He also holds honorary academic appointments with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the University of Birmingham. 

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