Interim GM Mayor calls for action to prevent thousands of premature deaths from pollution
Interim GM Mayor Tony Lloyd has called for action as a new report revealed that thousands of people in Greater Manchester could be dying prematurely from air pollution.
The report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has said that air pollution is causing at least 40,000 people across the UK to die prematurely each year. Adjusted for population this could mean that more than 2,000 people in Greater Manchester are dying prematurely each year.
Interim GM Mayor Tony Lloyd said: “I welcome this report - it is a wake-up call for all of us. The report’s researchers have highlighted the human cost of air pollution in Greater Manchester and across the UK. Now we must take action to stop these deaths.
“In Greater Manchester I want to see the latest technology being used to help us tackle the worst affected areas. This means looking at setting up bicycle sharing schemes as they have in other world cities, ensuring that more environmentally friendly buses are put on the most polluted routes and including electric vehicle charging points when new housing developments are being built in GM.”
“Solving this problem will not be easy but, with the right powers, we can make decisions here that work for GM and improve the lives of our people. It will take us all working together, from local leaders to transport groups to people in their own homes, but I am sure that we are up to the challenge.”
Air pollution outside the home, in large part from vehicle exhaust fumes, is identified as the cause of around 40,000 premature deaths across the UK. However, the report also highlights the effects of indoor pollution in the form of household cleaning products, mould, fires or wood-burning stoves and faulty gas heaters and boilers. The report states that indoor air pollution may have caused or contributed to 99,000 deaths in just one year across Europe.
The report also found that children and young people were amongst the most at risk from pollution. The researchers stated that air pollution could have a range of adverse effects during childhood and could lead to a number of conditions including asthma.
In Greater Manchester steps are already being taken to tackle air pollution. Greater Manchester Police, along with some GM local authorities, are phasing out older diesel vehicles from their fleet in favour of newer, more environmentally friendly, models. In addition, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is expected to announce the launch of a consultation on the Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan in the near future. These propose a range of options to reduce air pollution and encourage low emission behaviours.