Skip to main content

EFRA Committee and British Lung Foundation reports on air pollution

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Weekly stories

Image of telephone lines against clouds and a blue sky.

Two separate reports have been published today on air quality.

A report from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee calls on the government to put improving air quality “at the core” of its post-pandemic rebuild. The report, which has been covered in the Guardian, finds that while there was a temporary improvement in air quality during lockdown, this should not mask the need for faster progress on tackling pollution.

Separately, the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK have released a report calling for a national health protection plan and for stronger air quality laws in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – tiny particles in the air from vehicle engines, industrial emissions and other sources. The report states that around 6 million people aged 65 and over live in places where PM2.5 pollution exceeds WHO recommended levels. The report has been covered by BBC News.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

Air pollution has reduced significantly since 2010 with emissions of fine particulate matter falling by 9% and emissions of nitrogen oxides are at their lowest level since records began. However, we know there is more to do.

Our landmark Environment Bill will set at least two ambitious legally-binding air quality targets, with a primary focus on reducing exposure to particulate matter pollution. As part of this, we will consider the World Health Organization’s guidelines for PM2.5.

PHE also continues to support health professionals improve our understanding of links between air pollution and health, including working with the National Institute for Care Excellence to develop guidelines and standards to better protect vulnerable people from air pollution.

Follow Defra on Twitter, and sign up for email alerts here.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

1 comment

  1. Comment by Judith posted on

    why is the government not banning wood burning stoves? On every street, there is a huge increase in residents who have had them installed. The bring down the air quality, the tiny particles go into the bloodstream and lungs, There is nothing you can do to stop your neighbour from having one. Many of these are used for second leisure sources of heating, people already have central heating. This means if one or more commonly both your neighbours have a log burner, windows and doors have to be shut because of the smoke and the dangerous PM 2.5 particulates. They are invasive to every organ in your body, log burner emissions are the new asbestos. Why are there no laws on this I,e, more controls so that a neighbour can object to its installations? Why is the government not bringing in any further legislation to phase out log burners until 2030. If I complain to environmental health they say you can’t prove the burners are affecting your health, well yes I can it is well documented by experts. If I asked my local court that I wanted to take out a case against my neighbours to be given the chance to talk about the health concerns and stress which the invasive smoke going on your home and garden causes, but the courts don’t recognise the health damage these particles cause. By kindly asking my neighbours to please use something less invasive as a form of heating particularly in lockdown I am shouted at and the police are called. The police take the side of the burner saying they are allowed to burn put up with it. We are like the Americans with their guns, but we demand to have our log burners because it is our right. Environmental health have compared a burning candle to the emissions of a log burner. They say the burners are using smokeless but the Pm2.5 particles are still emitted. There is no room for an objector ofvthese things. I just have to remain anxious and hope that my family’s health will not suffer. It’s horrible in lockdown when you can’t go anywhere and you have smoke coming from both your next door neighbours. These particles are so small they get through windows. Educate people on these and put laws in now. My air was cleaner in the 1970s when I was a child. What’s happening. Soon the log burners will take the place of the darleks on Dr Who because log burners are the same they exterminate people and children’s respiratory systems.