FRIENDS of the Earth have called echoed calls for action to address traffic pollution after coroner Philip Barlow said UK levels of particulate pollution should be lowered in line with World Health Organisation limits.
Mr Barlow ruled earlier this year that air pollution from traffic was a cause in the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah who died in 2013.
In a report seeking to address how future deaths linked to air pollution can be prevented, he raised several concerns over toxic levels of particulate matter in the air in many parts of the UK.
These levels currently exceed World Health Organisation guidelines, and Friends of the Earth say his voice strengthens their calls for legally binding targets to be included in the upcoming Environment Bill.
West Midlands Friends of the Earth campaigner Chris Crean said: “Our thoughts are once again with Ella’s mother and family.
“The Government must take rapid steps to prevent similar tragedies happening in future.
“Too many lives are cut short every year because of polluted air.
“Tougher legally binding requirements to meet World Health Organisation guidelines for the most dangerous fine particle air pollution by 2030, are urgently required, and must be included in the Environment Bill.
“But targets alone are not enough – the main causes of air pollution must also be addressed. Ensuring that the vehicles on our road are cleaner, and that there are fewer of them, will not only drive down air pollution, it will cut climate emissions too.”
A 2019 review by Public Health England on air quality and health found that air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure.
It said there was strong evidence that air pollution causes the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer, and exacerbates asthma.