According to a report published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the World Health Organisation air quality guidelines are continually being broken across the UK.
Glasgow has been revealed as the most polluting city in the UK closely followed by London and Leeds.
It is claimed that 44 towns and cities are currently thought to be in breach of recommendations, with the report stating that despite warnings from the European Commission and from the Supreme Court, there is a distinct lack of national strategy to act as an action benchmark.
It has been previously reported that 44,000 deaths occur prematurely in the UK due to excessive air pollution levels.
In addition, over 6 million sick days are used as a result along with a social cost of around £22.6 billion each year.
The government is being called on to take urgent action to introduce new policies to clean up the UK’s air.
In turn, this will not only reduce emissions but will reduce the number of premature deaths, save billions of pounds of public money as well as reducing pollution-based disease.
Time for Change
The RCP has also suggested that Clean Air Zones should be introduced or expanded in around 27 cities that ‘persistently breach’ emission limits.
The RCP sustainability lead, Dr Toby Hillman, stated: “We know that high exposures in early life have a major effect on lung and cognitive development throughout an individual’s life.”
“That is why it is the government’s duty to improve the air we breathe and to ensure that people across the UK are not exposed to such a preventable cause of death and illness.”
“Addressing climate change and poor air quality isn’t a burden or cost but fundamentally an opportunity we should grasp with both hands.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has introduced a £3 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions across its processes.
A Defra spokesperson stated: “We will also end the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 and next year we will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will set out further steps to tackle air pollution.”
“We now have an opportunity to deliver a Green Brexit and improve environmental standards as we leave the EU.”