Doctors Against Diesel is an evidence-based campaign led by doctors, nurses and health professionals.

Our mission is to reduce the impacts of air pollution on children’s health.

01_Doctors_Against_Diesel_Illustration

Doctors Against Diesel is an evidence-based campaign led by doctors, nurses and health professionals.

Our mission is to reduce the impacts of air pollution on children’s health.

01_Doctors_Against_Diesel_Illustration

Doctors Against Diesel is an evidence-based campaign led by doctors, nurses and health professionals.

Our mission is to reduce the impacts of air pollution on children’s health.

01_Doctors_Against_Diesel_Illustration

Who we are

Doctors Against Diesel is a campaign run by the public health charity Medact, and supported by some of the leading UK experts on the health impacts of air pollution.

Doctors Against Diesel is working for a world where:

●  No child’s health is adversely affected by air pollution
●  Highly polluting diesel vehicles are phased out from UK towns and cities
●  Policies support the choice to walk, cycle or take public transport as healthy and safe alternatives to driving

Why we exist?

A recent Greenpeace investigation revealed more than 2,000 schools, nurseries, further education centres and after-school clubs are within 150m of roads emitting illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2).  In London, even after extension of the proposed ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) in 2019 there will still be 950 schools exposed to illegal levels of NO2.  Similar situations are replicated throughout the UK, making this an urgent public health crisis.

As doctors and health professionals we have a responsibility to promote health, and to advocate on behalf of children most at risk from air pollution.

What do we do

We campaign for effective, coordinated policies that will lead to a step-change reduction in the biggest sources of pollution. This includes Low Emissions Zones, restrictions in particular around schools and greater encouragement of car clubs, walking, cycling and public transport.

We take public action as health professionals

We provide an expert voice in the public policy debate

We raise awareness and campaign for School Clean Air Zones with parents and teachers

Why diesel?

We recognise that there are multiple sources of outdoor air pollution, however in urban areas the single biggest source is road transport.  Children in particular are vulnerable to the effects of air pollution from traffic.

The campaign specifically focuses on diesel because it is the biggest source of air pollution in towns and cities, and a source of some of the most dangerous air pollutants for health: NO2 and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).  Diesel cars produce more of these dangerous pollutants than petrol cars.

Approximately half of NO2 emissions in the UK come from roads.  Diesel cars produce over 40% of the NO2 coming from roads in cities, with the remainder produced by light goods vehicles, heavy goods vehicles and buses.

Following the Volkswagen ‘Dieselgate’ scandal in 2015 and the recent scandals involving Renault & Fiat, it’s become apparent that many/most car companies have been knowingly fixing emissions tests designed to reduce emissions from diesel, and breaking air pollution standards.

Despite some moves to alter testing regulations and ‘fix’ some of the cars, two-thirds of the newest, high ‘Euro 6’ standard diesel cars still do not emissions standards in real world conditions.  And some new diesel cars emit 15 times more NO2 than they are supposed to.

How diesel affects your child

Diesel pollution damages health in a variety of ways, affecting a baby’s first weeks in the womb all the way through to the years of older age.  In the womb, and in infancy and early childhood the body is particularly vulnerable because it is growing and developing rapidly.  In particular there is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution impairs lung growth in children.

Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to the development and/or worsening of asthma; and new research is pointing towards negative effects on growth, intelligence, and neurological development. In adult life there is a strong link between air pollution and strokes, heart disease and diabetes.  It has been estimated that air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK.

According to Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric and Respiratory Medicine at Queen Mary University, “air pollution levels in London exceed legal limits and affect people’s health at every stage of life.  Effects begin with changes to fetal growth before birth affecting lung development.  In childhood pollution reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of asthma.  In adulthood it increases the risk of death from heart and lung disease and stroke”.

The risks increase among those living in the most deprived communities, and particularly children in these areas.  This is due to the combined impacts of poor housing and air quality indoors, the stress of living on a low income, and sometimes limited access to healthy food and/or green spaces.

How you can help

Doctors Against Diesel is an evidence-based campaign led by doctors, nurses and health professionals.  Our mission is to reduce the impacts of air pollution on children’s health.

Help us continue the fight against air pollution and its effects on children’s health by donating or joining our mailing list.