By Oliver Hall
MPs carrying out research into the effects of pollution on the nations health have called for more research on the impact of particulates related to tyres and brakes hitting the road surface.
According to a damning report the UK’s filthy air is killing 50,000 people a year, that’s more than obesity, passive smoking or traffic accidents.
And it has emerged that ministers have been rebuked for failing to tackle the lethal problem, risking millions of pounds in fines for failing to meet EU quality standards.
MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee warned that climate-change targets were even exacerbating air pollution, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The Government has encouraged people to drive diesel cars which were more fuel efficient but created more particulates, while the introduction of biomass boilers in urban areas also led to air pollution.
Poor air quality is linked to respiratory illness, heart disease and asthma, conditions which can dramatically lower life expectancy.
Tim Yeo, the Tory MP and chairman of the committee, said the Government should be ‘ashamed’ of its inaction. ‘Air pollution probably causes more deaths than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity, yet it receives very little attention from Government or from the media.’
‘In the worst affected areas, this invisible killer could be taking years off the lives of people most at risk, such as those with asthma.’
The committee called for the Government to make air quality a much higher priority, to raise awareness and educate the public on the dangers and how to minimise their exposure to pollution.
Health costs of pollution are estimated to be up to £20.2 billion, the same as the fall out from alcohol, while Britain faces a £30 million fine from the EU for failing to meet air-quality standards,
While overall emissions from transport had come down from a decade ago, progress on reducing transport pollution further had stalled, according to the politicians.
They have now called for more research on the impact of particulates related to tyres and brakes hitting the road surface.