Air pollution ‘costs UK $83bn a year’

Air pollution is costing the UK billions of pounds every year in deaths and diseases. That’s the findings of a new report, which revealed premature deaths as a result of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Air pollution is costing the UK billions of pounds every year in deaths and diseases.

That’s the findings of a new report, which revealed premature deaths as a result of air pollution cost more than $83 billion (£54bn) in the UK alone.

EU nations as a whole could save as much as $1.7 trillion (£1.1tn) by reducing air pollution.

The amount is equivalent to one tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the EU in 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

More than 90% of citizens in the EU are exposed to annual levels of outdoor fine particulate matter that are above its air quality guidelines.

That accounted for around 482,000 premature deaths in 2012 as a result of heart and respiratory diseases, strokes and lung cancer, it added.

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe said: “Curbing the health effects of air pollution pays dividends. The evidence we have provides decision-makers across the whole of government with a compelling reason to act. If different sectors come together on this, we not only save more lives but also achieve results that are worth astounding amounts of money.”

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ordered the UK Government to crack down on harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions – mainly a result of diesel engines.