• Air Pollution Causes 24,000 Premature Deaths Every Year. British Government Facing Legal Action

Air Clean Up

Air Pollution Causes 24,000 Premature Deaths Every Year. British Government Facing Legal Action

Dec 18 2009

The UK government is failing to tackle air pollution despite the UK being one of the worst polluters in Europe, argues a report published today by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College, London. The report is part of the ‘What is crime? project, funded by the Wates Foundation, which highlights hidden harms and challenges popular ideas about what crime is.

Crime is in the air highlights the following:

  • It is estimated that 24,000 British residents die prematurely every year and thousands more are hospitalised, because of air pollution.
  • Levels of air pollution across London require urgent attention as the 2012 games approaches.
  • The EU is currently preparing a legal case against the British government for repeatedly breaching pollution levels. More than 20 towns and cities have been found to be emitting pollution at twice the level specified in WHO standards.

Author of the report, Professor Reece Walters said: "Existing government regulations to tackle air pollution are based on a biased and erroneous partnership model that takes a soft approach with commercial polluters. The annual prosecutions for offences are appallingly disproportionate to the harm caused by air pollution. The existing regulatory system prioritises trade and economic prosperity over public safety; and this is totally unacceptable."

Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies said: "The serious consequences of air pollution are frequently neglected. Crime is in the air indicates that current approaches to regulation and pollution control are biased in favour of economic imperatives and are failing to tackle the health problems caused by air pollution. Perhaps this is because the majority of people affected live in low income areas."


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