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Tackle air pollution by giving local authorities more power


22 February 2016

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Local authorities should be given new powers to close or divert roads where pollution levels are high, in order to protect local people, a major new report urged.

This is particularly important for busy roads near schools, according to the report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Local authorities should be given new powers to close or divert roads where pollution levels are high, in order to protect local people, a major new report urged.

This is particularly important for busy roads near schools, according to the report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The World Health Organization states that air pollution “is a major environmental risk to health” and is associated with stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.

In response, Amanda Cheesley, professional lead for long-term conditions at the Royal College of Nursing, warned: “This report makes clear that air pollution is a threat to the health of everyone – whether they know it immediately or not.”

The landmark paper, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, suggested that air pollution can also impact the development of the foetus. This includes lung and kidney development, and miscarriage; while it can increase the number of heart attacks and strokes for those in later life; and increase the risk of asthma, diabetes, dementia, obesity and cancer for the wider population.

Moreover, pollutants from everyday objects in the home and workplace are linked to up to 99,000 deaths a year across Europe, the paper stated.

Cheesley urged: “There is a moral imperative to act now to prevent this and to make sure future generations breathe better air than this one.”

See the full report here

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