The Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) has published a POSTnote on urban outdoor air quality with contributions from academics in the Clean Air Programme, including Breathing City’s Dr Christina Vanderwel, University of Southampton. POST produces impartial, non-partisan, and peer-reviewed briefings, designed to make scientific research accessible to the UK Parliament.
The POSTnote highlights that air pollution is the greatest UK environmental public health threat. It updates the 2014 POSTnote on ambient air quality (PN 458) and describes air pollutants, their health impacts and measures to mitigate poor air quality.
It brings together the latest urban air quality research, public health evidence and pollutant concentration targets from the past ten years; the impacts of air pollution were highlighted by the 2013 case of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, in which high levels caused a severe fatal asthma attack. Ella is the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as an associated cause of death following the 2020 inquest, which highlighted several organisations with responsibility for action on air pollution. Air quality has been the subject of infringement proceedings by the European Commission against the UK and court cases brought against the Government by the environmental law charity ClientEarth.
The Chief Medical Officer’s 2022 Annual Report focused on air pollution, stating that “we can and should go further to reduce air pollution”.