UK has ‘moral duty’ to improve air pollution

The UN’s Special Representative on Human Rights and the Environment has issued an urgent call for Britain to tighten its policies on air quality. 

The UK has a ‘moral duty’ to improve its air quality, according to a leading expert on the subject. 

Dr David Boyd, U.N. Special Representative on Human Rights and the Environment, was speaking out against new air quality targets for Britain, with those currently in place, and other limits due to come into force by 2040, proving the government is ‘definitely not setting its sights high enough’, labelling Downing Street as ‘negligent’. 

blue clouds under white sky

The statement came at a time when air pollution campaigners and research has again been making front page news. Just last week, a new report was published highlighting the link between traffic fumes and dementia. Earlier this year, a separate study suggested that lowering air pollution might reduce the risk of dementia in individuals by 20%.

Other links have been drawn between living in high traffic areas and contracting Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. Meanwhile, polluted air is believed to change the brain connectivity and development in children, who are considered to be at particular risk from the harmful effects of emissions, which can impede lung capacity and function

Last October, access to a clean and healthy environment was declared a fundamental human right by the U.N. Human Rights Council. The UK updated its air pollution targets earlier this year, with the limit for PM2.5 particulate matter to 10µg/m3g, which must be achieved by 2040. This was designed to fall in line with World Health Organisation guidance, however the organisation has also tightened its limits, which now stand at 5µg/m3

Image credit: CHUTTERSNAP


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1 year ago

Thank you Martin. Very important. But does Defra have the money to instal more air quality monitoring sites and to expand their network? Why isn’t this on the mainstream media news?

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