Diesel pollution blamed for 12,000 premature UK deaths a year

Diesel pollution blamed for 12,000 premature UK deaths a year
Almost 12,000 people a year in Britain die early from diesel pollution – a figure higher than anywhere else in Europe apart from Italy.

Air pollution is causing around 467,000 premature deaths in Europe every year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned.

It said while air quality is slowly improving, air pollution remains the single largest environmental health hazard in Europe.

Italy has the most premature deaths caused by air pollution in Europe at 21,000, followed by the UK with 11,900.

Germany has 10,600 while France and Spain have 8,200 and 4,300 a year respectively.

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The report comes as MEPs in the European parliament on Wednesday November 23 approved caps for five air pollutants, including NO2, to come into force in 2030.

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The new rules aim to halve the number of deaths from air pollution across Europe.  

Earlier this month, The High Court ordered the government to draw up plans to cut nitrogen dioxide (N02) emissions in cities by July.

Limits N02 were introduced by EU law in 1999, and were to be achieved by 2010.

Campaigners want a national network of clean air zones to be in place by 2018 in cities across the UK.

Heart disease and lung conditions are most commonly linked to inhaling air pollution, but the liver, spleen, central nervous system, brain, and even reproductive system can also be affected.

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EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx says: “We need to tackle the root causes of air pollution, which calls for a fundamental and innovative transformation of our mobility, energy and food systems. This process of change requires action from us all, including public authorities, businesses, citizens and research community.”

Research carried out for the RAC Report on Motoring has found that more and more drivers are becoming increasingly concerned about air quality.

In the study, 66% of drivers said they would support strong action from the Government aimed at solving the issue of air pollution.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.