The health impact of air pollution in Birmingham is costing the city £470m a year.
These are the findings of King’s College London researchers who combined relationships between Defra’s Air Quality modelling concentrations of PM2.5 and NOx and health outcomes for each parliamentary constituency in Birmingham.
It’s the first time that new government guidance on ‘mortality burdens’ of air pollution, developed by a government advisory committee (COMEAP), have been applied in practice in a large city area.
The impact of air pollution in Birmingham is considered to be worse than some other major cities in the UK and the report says there is a higher loss of life expectancy in Birmingham than in Manchester due to higher levels of deprivation.
Researchers also believe that an eight-year-old child growing up in Birmingham could have their life cut short by seven months due to the impact of air pollution on their lung development.
Nearly half of Birmingham’s children live in the 10% most deprived areas in the country – with nearly 8,000 living in the 1% most deprived areas, according to a report by the Children’s Society.
The study was commissioned by UK100, who represent city leaders from around the country,
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Birmingham City Council, called the findings ‘absolutely shocking’.
‘They demonstrate the sheer scale of the major public health crisis we are dealing with in Birmingham today,’ he said.
‘One life cut short by poor air quality is one too many, so this is exactly why the city is taking forward measures such as the Clean Air Zone and why we continue to work with other cities across the country to tackle this problem together, but we also need strong leadership on this issue at a national government level.’
As AirQualityNews.com reported last month, Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will be ‘significantly’ postponed past its original launch date of January 2020 with the council blaming the government for not delivering digital vehicle checking tools in time that are needed to make the zones operational.
Read the study here.