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Public call for WHO air pollution limits to be enshrined in UK law

The public is in favour of faster and bolder action on air pollution, a new YouGov poll has revealed. 

According to the survey which involved over 2,000 adults, over half (54%) of respondents were in favour of strengthening the UK’s laws in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for air pollution. 

64% of respondents also said that they were in support of the creation of car-free zones outside of schools during pick-up and drop-off times, even if this makes it less convenient for some parents. 

57% said they were in support government investment in making cycling and walking safer and 53% said they supported the introduction of clean air zones that charge the most polluting vehicles to enter towns and cities. 

However, the poll also revealed that despite support for action on air pollution, the use of more sustainable transport remains comparatively low. 

Prior to Covid-19, the majority of people commuted to work by car (56%).

Since Covid-19, this number has increased, people have been using public even transport less, which has led to a rise in walking, cycling but also driving among those who have still been commuting into work.

Polly Billington, director of UK100, commented on these results: ‘The public wants politicians to be ambitious on air pollution.

‘The Government should put the world-class WHO air quality standards into law and our local authorities should commit to rolling out clean air zones and school streets. This polling tells politicians we want our health to come before our convenience.’

Harriet Edwards, senior policy and project manager for Air quality, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘As COVID-19 continues to spread, the importance of healthy resilient lungs has never been more apparent.

‘Air pollution is bad for everybody’s health, but for the 1 in 5 people in the UK with existing lung conditions, such as asthma and COPD, exposure to toxic air can cause an immediate flare-up of existing symptoms with potentially devastating consequences.

‘That’s why we need to see urgent action from the government, including bolder air quality laws to reduce air pollution levels, ad nationwide public health campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay 

 

 

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