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14 November 2011
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has strongly endorsed a damning report released today by the Environmental Audit Committee, claiming that 200,000 people a year are dying prematurely because of air pollution. The report also highlights the fact that there is an irrefutable and growing link between rising levels of asthma and air pollution.
The CIEH's members - environmental health practitioners (EHPs) – work on the front line when it comes to improving air quality. EHPs are responsible for carrying out regular reviews and assessments of air quality in their area, providing businesses with advice and guidance, investigating complaints and taking action if air quality is found to breach the regulations.
Commenting on the report, David Kidney, CIEH Head of Policy, said:
"The report confirms many of the CIEH's key concerns that air pollution is a major cause of ill health and that more often than not it affects some of the most vulnerable and poorest members of the community."
"The CIEH is calling on the Government to accept responsibility for national efforts to improve air quality and reduce the threat to people's health and wellbeing. Like the Committee, we urge the Government to adopt a strong national strategy and to give greater support to local authorities to enable them to join the fight against air pollution more effectively."
The Committee's report recommends making the tackling of air pollution a high public health priority like it was after London's Great Smog of 1952. At that time, everyone pulled together to make our air cleaner, now it is time for a similar united effort.
The CIEH has long highlighted the fact that the UK has some of the most polluted cities in Western Europe with London particularly badly affected.
The CIEH's David Kidney will be chairing an Air Quality Summit on Monday 21 November at Camden Town Hall where the vital issues raised by the Committee's new report will be addressed.