Between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year can be attributed to long term emissions exposure, according to Public Health England (PHE), and during the school drop-off, our kids are on the front line.
“Now is our opportunity to create a clean air generation of children, by implementing interventions in a coordinated way,” said Professor Paul Cosford, director of health and protection and medical director at PHE.
“By making new developments clean by design we can create a better environment for everyone, especially our children.”
For a kick-off, the Professor is saying that “we should stop idling outside when children are walking to school.”
What can be done?
In an evidence review published on March 11, PHE suggested a number of interventions for local authorities to take. These include continued promotion of low-emission vehicle uptake, with an increase in targets for electric car charging points and boosting investment in clean public transport while encouraging cycling and walking to improve health.
Also suggested was something of an urban redesign for the UK’s cities, to get pedestrians away from the most polluting roads. A further advancement of low-emission zone implementation with an emphasis on highly populated areas was also a focus.
Cosford continues: “We recommend that at a local level, any new policy or programme of work which affects air pollution should aim to deliver an overall benefit to the public’s health.
“So transport and urban planners will need to work together, with others involved in air pollution to ensure that new initiatives have a positive impact.
“Decision makers should carefully design policies, to make sure that the poorest in society are protected against the financial implications of new schemes.”