After a five year legal battle by ClientEarth, the Supreme Court has ordered the UK Government to cut illegal air pollution...The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, saying: "The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue."
Salford people have been choking to death for years due to air pollution. Public Health England statistics show that 138 people over the age of 25 died in the city at the last count from causes associated with PM2.5, particles that get stuck deep in the lungs. That's the equivalent of 1,390 life years lost. It's the third highest number of PM2.5 pollution deaths in Greater Manchester, although percentage-wise it's the joint highest.
Levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are also being exceeded, and a Salford Council report last year stated "Poor air quality has the potential to effect everybody's health. For the majority of people who are healthy these changes are small and difficult to recognise but for some, the effects of poor air quality are more serious, as exposure to pollution can exacerbate existing health conditions including cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Because of the health impacts, polices within Salford should, where possible, prioritise those measures that lead to air quality improvements…"
The Supreme Court ruling acknowledged that the UK failed to meet the 2015 air quality deadline and that most urban regions and cities, including Salford, would not comply with the EU Air Quality Directive until 2020.
"Air pollution kills tens of thousands of people prematurely each year in the UK, and puts extra strain on our beleaguered NHS" says Manchester Friends of the Earth sustainable transport campaigner Pete Abel "The Government has now been instructed by the Supreme Court to come up with an urgent action plan to stop people choking on dirty air and end this national disgrace.
"It's time to tackle the main cause of this pollution, which is too much dirty traffic, by encouraging cleaner vehicles and getting more people on to bikes, buses, trains" he adds.
See previous Salford Star article for further details – click here