Editor's Pick

Mums for Lungs call for air quality action in Manchester

The clean air campaign group Mums for Lungs are taking to the streets of Manchester this week to highlight the city’s problem with air pollution.

The campaign group point to figures from Public Health England that show Greater Manchester has the highest proportion of children  being hospitalised for asthma – 65% more than the average. In 2022/3 there were 3,810 pediatric respiratory admissions across the city.

Furthermore, the trend is upwards.  The 1,345 admissions in 2023 is nearly double the number from 2o21.

The borough of Tameside has the highest rate of asthma hospital admissions for children of any English combined authority outside of London, according to Public Health England, followed by Oldham and Manchester city centre.

Liz Godfrey, a parent of two, who runs the Manchester Mums for Lungs group, said: ‘This is a health emergency and it is devastating to see that more children than ever are admitted to hospital with respiratory illnesses.

‘Pollution levels across Greater Manchester contribute to stunted lung growth and asthma. We urge Andy Burnham and the Government to come together and sort out Manchester’s air pollution – so everyone can breathe more easily!’

At the event in Manchester, Mums for Lungs have hung up a washing line of baby clothes carrying the message ‘Clean Air Now’. 

With some parts of Manchester more than five times over the recommended WHO limits for air pollution, the group are calling on the Mayor and local councils to formulate a plan to reach the WHO targets on air pollution where NO2 should not exceed 10μg/m3 as an annual mean, and PM2.5 should not exceed 5μg/m3, led by a dedicated Clean Air Cabinet member.

Much of the air quality problem is caused by traffic, with the latest DfT figures showing that between 2012 and 2022, the number of cars on the roads of Greater Manchester increased by 41 per cent (1.06 million to 1.46 million).

But Mums for Lungs are also taking aim at other souces of air pollution, demanding more action on wood burning, including additional efforts to issue penalty fines and for at least a quarter of all primary schools in the borough to implement a School Street over the next five years

Dr Sinead Millwood, an NHS GP at the Hawthorn Medical Centre in Levenshulme, said: ‘From the early stages of development even in the womb, children are one of the most sensitive groups to air pollution because they are still growing and their immune systems are not able to fight it yet. It affects their developing brains, reducing their ability to learn. It stunts their lung growth and causes and exacerbates asthma and lung infections. I often see kids with these preventable illnesses and wish our leaders would take the action needed to address this.’





Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top