05 Jul Statement from Doctors Against Diesel about the Client Earth hearing today
There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to small particles and gases from fossil-fuel derived air pollution has major adverse consequences on health.
Published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the world’s largest study of air pollution shows there is no safe lower limit for air pollution exposure to particulates. In this study of over 60 million people in the USA, researchers found that long term exposure to air pollutants significantly increases the risk of premature death even at air pollution levels below current legal limits.
Furthermore, consistent findings from multiple studies in the USA, Europe and London show poor air quality stunts lung growth in children, risking long-term morbidity and early mortality in adulthood.
Doctors against Diesel are calling for the government to uphold their duty to protect the UK population from the deadly effects of air pollution. The Air Quality Plan fails to tackle national emissions at source. We want to see immediate progress to deliver a transport system where no child’s lung health is impaired, and no adult is at increase risk of death.
This must be achieved, as legally required, in the shortest possible time.
There must be an urgent transformation on our roads away from diesel in order to reduce people’s exposure to harmful air pollution. This requires a shift to a greener and cleaner road transport systems, including Low Emissions Zones, greater encouragement of car clubs, walking, cycling and public transport to protect both vulnerable populations and the wider public, all of whom are at risk.
We remind the government of our prescription to protect children’s lungs ‘every breath and to deliver tougher action on air pollution including:
· Low Emissions Zones in all polluted cities
· Traffic and idling restrictions around all schools
· Diesel scrappage schemes
· Encouraging car clubs, cycling and public transport
· Air quality monitoring and warnings during high pollution episodes are mandatory and accessible to vulnerable populations
· UK Air quality targets that reflect reliable scientific data
· Cycling and walking made healthy and safe for all journeys
Link to Client Earth.