Sandwell research predicts air quality related health costs of £37m over next decade

Last November we reported that a Sandwell district air pollution project had received a £50,000 grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to help understand the public health benefits of reducing air pollution levels. 

The funds were awarded to consultancy Enjoy the Air, who were working in partnership with Sandwell Council on the initiative.

Today Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has announced the successful completion of the pilot after Kate Barnard, Founder and CEO of Enjoy the Air, presented data revealing the catastrophic cost of air pollution to the local economy.

The study had examined the link between air pollution, behaviour and the cost of air pollution-related healthcare in the Sandwell area.

The six-month review determined that poor air quality will continue to damage the health of the local population if it does not improve but it quantifies the benefits of remediating the problem as a saving of around £37 million in NHS costs over the next decade.

This study included a series of workshops with local people to understand different perspectives and how data could be best communicated as well as discussing possible interventions and policy changes to improve it for everyone.

Lina Martino, Sandwell’s Public Health Consultant for Air Quality said: ‘This ground breaking study by Enjoy the Air marks an important milestone in our mission to improve air quality and protect public health. It is a testament to our commitment to address air pollution and safeguard the health and wellbeing of Sandwell’s residents. We are determined to use these findings as a catalyst for change in the area.’

Enjoy the Air intends to extend this methodology to other councils, offering support in combating air pollution.

Kate Barnard, Founder and CEO of Enjoy the Air, said: ‘With every breath we take, both our health and the economy suffers from the burdens of air pollution. Our findings in Sandwell emphasise the urgency of addressing this issue. By implementing proactive measures, we can significantly alleviate the health strain caused by poor air quality and consequently improve the economic landscape.

‘By harnessing the power of data, we can make informed decisions, understand the causal relationship and make interventions tailored to the specific needs of an area. Together we have built a legacy of learning and innovation which will allow Sandwell to foster more ambitious strategies to improve quality of life and regional economic development.’


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