London’s ULEZ to save NHS billions, researchers predict

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and other policies to tackle air pollution will save the NHS around £5bn and prevent more than one million hospital admissions by 2050, according to a City Hall-commissioned report.

The report, which was carried out by modelling experts HealthLumen, looked how air quality policies such as the ULEZ, Low Emission Bus Zones and new taxi licencing requirements will affect exposure to the pollutants nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and how this will change health outcomes for Londoners.

According to the report, almost 300,000 Londoners will be saved from diseases attributable to air pollution, such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer and dementia. This is a reduction of around one in every four air pollution-related diseases.

Last year, a major King’s College London study suggested that hundreds more people have heart attacks, strokes or asthma attacks on days where air pollution levels are high.

To launch the report, the Mayor visited Columbia Market Nursery School, one of 20 nurseries in the most polluted areas of London that received an Air Quality Audit and grant from a programme that aims to protect pupils from toxic air.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘Air pollution is a national health crisis that is contributing to thousands of premature deaths in London alone. Toxic air causes long-lasting harm and could devastate lives for generations.

‘This new data shows that the action we’re taking is already making a difference and saving lives. The ULEZ in particular will have a transformative impact in the coming years, with one million fewer air pollution related hospital admissions and billions of pounds saved to the NHS.’

London will hold a mayoral election in May with air quality likely to be a key battleground.

Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey has previously said that he would halt the proposed expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and instead spend more money on electric buses.

Independent candidate Rory Stewart has said he would do more to tackle emissions from domestic boilers and construction machinery, should he become mayor.

Lib Dem candidate Siobhan Benita launched her campaign earlier this month (February 13) and said air pollution is one of the top issues facing Londoners.

Photo Credit – Big Stock

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