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Air Quality


Air pollution has been classified as the largest environmental risk to UK public health. In 2016, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians estimated about 40,000 people in the UK die every year due to outdoor air pollution, with disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected. It also estimated it costs the country £20 billion a year.

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought air quality into sharper focus. Emerging research suggests that poor air quality is correlated with higher death and infection rates from COVID-19. The lockdown led to a significant short-term improvement in air quality in many areas, but there are concerns that policies to discourage the use of public transport to limit transmission of the virus may now lead to increased road traffic pollution in cities.

In this context the EFRA Committee is revisiting its 2018 Improving Air Quality report and whether the Government’s 2019 Air Quality Strategy and the Environment Bill will deliver the national leadership necessary to deliver the “step change” in how air pollution is tackled in the UK.