Media & Research

Public Health England (PHE) has today, Monday 11 March 2019, published a review of evidence on how to improve air quality in the United Kingdom.

The review informs local and national government on actions to improve outdoor air quality and health.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure. There is strong evidence that air pollution causes the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer, and exacerbates asthma.

Updated 29 January 2019

1. We pledge to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it.

A better environment and cleaner air

2. Clean air is one of the most basic requirements of a healthy environment for us all to live, work, and bring up families. Whilst air quality has improved significantly in recent decades, and will continue to improve thanks to the action we have already taken, there are some parts of our country where there are unacceptable levels of air pollution. This can come from a range of different sources and activities. Many everyday activities such as industrial processes, farming, transport, generating energy and heating homes can have a detrimental effect on air quality. This is a problem we need to tackle.

14 January 2019

Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to public health in the UK - behind only cancer, obesity and heart disease - and the measures set out in the Clean Air Strategy will cut the costs of air pollution to society by £1.7 billion every year by 2020, rising to £5.3 billion every year from 2030.

D9 Air Quality Detector

The D9 Air LCD Digital Air Quality Monitor with Detector Style: PM2.5+TVOC+HCHO+CO2 ordered on 10 December @ £86.28 ($105.82) with NewFrog, arrived on Friday 21 December 2018 from Ou Chuang Rui Technology, Shenzhen, China.

They claim that "All 5 sensors are imported or domestic industry top sensors to ensure accurate detection data. Such as: TVOC - Japanese Figaro, temperature and humidity -- SENSIRION, CO2 - SENSEAIR, formaldehyde - Weisheng (top of the domestic industry) PM2.5 - panteng (top of the domestic industry)".

Xiaomi Smart Air Purifier 2S

Delivery of Xiaomi Smart Air Purifier 2S with OLED Display and Smartphone App from My AliExpress was on Wednesday 14 November 2018. Only ordered on 9 November with Global Appliance Store @ £124.59 ($159.84)!

The display shows the PM2.5 value live, the current temperature and humidity. Measurement of the air quality is via the inclusion of a laser sensor on the rear of the device. It also works with an app, although the app could offer more in terms of setting up the device. The fan works perfectly silent and adjusts the speed finely if air quality changes.

Revealed: the hidden air pollution in your home

Which? tests reveal high levels of potentially harmful pollutants in homes, caused by everyday activities such as cooking.

Everyday activities such as vacuuming, spraying air fresheners and cooking can all create air pollution in the home that could affect your long-term health, according to tests carried out by Which?

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

Human activity dumps about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide each day into the air, and the terrible consequences we're already seeing are just the beginning of what our children and grandchildren will inherit. While reducing emissions at all levels is hugely important, meanwhile individuals can support projects that compensate for their own carbon footprint each year. The EPA, Nature Conservancy, and WWF all have good carbon calculators, and Carbon Footprint, Terrapass, and Native Energy offer a variety of "offsets."

Climate Change Conference (COP24)

A WHO report launched on 5 December 2018 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland highlights why health considerations are critical to the advancement of climate action and outlines key recommendations for policy makers.

Exposure to air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year and costs an estimated US$ 5.11 trillion in welfare losses globally. In the 15 countries that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4% of their GDP. Actions to meet the Paris goals would cost around 1% of global GDP.

Globally, the AQLI reveals that particulate pollution reduces average life expectancy by 1.8 years, making it the greatest global threat to human health. By comparison, first-hand cigarette smoke leads to a reduction in global average life expectancy of about 1.6 years. Other risks to human health have even smaller effects: alcohol and drugs reduce life expectancy by 11 months; unsafe water and sanitation take off 7 months; and HIV/AIDS, 4 months. Conflict and terrorism take off 22 days. So, the impact of particulate pollution on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, twice that of alcohol and drug use, three times that of unsafe water, five times that of HIV/AIDS, and more than 25 times that of conflict and terrorism.

New Index finds air pollution reduces global life expectancy by nearly 2 years, making it the single greatest threat to human health

Traffic congestion in Bath, England. The city is planning to introduce a clean-air zone. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Traffic emissions responsible for at least €70bn damage every year, report says

The Guardian 27 Nov 2018

Air pollution from roads causes at least €70bn (£62bn) in health damage every year in the European Union, according to a new report, with diesel fumes responsible for three-quarters of the harm.

The research, commissioned by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), found the vast majority of the costs were borne by taxpayers through government-funded health services. But these costs could be reduced by 80% by 2030 if ambitious action were taken, the report concluded.

The UN’s interactive report We get long and complicated reports about something really important fairly often. Not so often is that information turned into a fun interactive à la the New York Times.

The interactive is of the recent Emissions Gap Report from UN Environment, which looks at the pledges made by various countries to reduce their emissions.

State of the Air 2018

Forget the Golden State. California should be called the Smoggy State.

Eight of the USA's 10 most-polluted cities, in terms of ozone pollution, are in California, according to the American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report, released Wednesday.

The Los Angeles/Long Beach area took the dubious distinction of being the nation's most ozone-polluted city as it has for nearly the entire 19-year history of the report.

Overall, the report said about 133 million Americans — more than four of 10 — live with unhealthful levels of air pollution, placing them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage and developmental and reproductive harm.

UK citizens are taking air pollution monitoring into their own hands

“Most people seem understandably keen to learn about air quality where they live, work, or where their children go to school. But more than 70 local Friends of the Earth groups have used multiple testing kits to uncover a more detailed picture of pollution, often in places lacking much in the way of official monitoring stations.”

Clean Air Act 2.0

A Clean Air Act for the 21st Century

Just sixty years ago, towns and cities across the UK would be regularly smothered by smoke from coal fires burning in homes and factories. The Great Smog of 1952 infamously brought London to a halt and caused thousands of deaths in the weeks and years that followed.

Four years after the Great Smog, our nation came together to solve one of the greatest public health crises of the time. Members of all political parties put their differences aside and worked with one another to create the Clean Air Act, a ground-breaking piece of legislation that phased out coal from towns and cities and helped to protect the health of millions of people for decades after. But, sixty years after the first Clean Air Act, air pollution is still damaging people’s health across the UK – we just can’t see it.

Annually, air pollution across the UK causes an estimated 40,000 early deaths and affects the daily life of thousands of people who have no choice but to breathe dirty air. Illegal and harmful levels of air pollution are found not only in London but in cities like Birmingham, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow and towns like Truro, Llandeilo and Lanark. Air pollution affects us all, from the womb to old age. It triggers strokes, heart and asthma attacks, increasing the risk of hospitalisation and death, and causes cancer. It is linked to premature births and stunted lung growth in children.

It doesn’t have to be like this. We have the technology and the tools to clean our air. All we need is leaders brave enough to act.

Instead of making the same arguments against taking action that were made 60 years ago we need the government to wake up to our air pollution crisis. Just as we did back then, we now need a new Clean Air Act that is ambitious, fair and far-reaching enough to clean up our air across all of the United Kingdom. We need a Clean Air Act that will:

  1. Tackle the sources of modern air pollution, such as diesel, and accelerate the shift to zero emissions transport;
  2. Improve and strengthen existing legislation, enshrining the right to breathe clean air into law, so the UK has the most ambitious air quality legislation in Europe;
  3. Make the UK a world leader in clean technology, creating the jobs and industries that will help us, and others, clean up our air.

Join our campaign for a new Clean Air Act and together we can make sure everyone has the right to breathe clean air.


We’re a group of health, environmental and transport organisations calling on the UK government to take meaningful action on air pollution. We see the campaign for a new Clean Air Act as a way to connect and strengthen the existing work of organisations tackling air pollution, while simultaneously articulating a positive national vision around which to mobilise the general public. The intent of the new Clean Air Act is to provide city and national leaders with the tools and the public mandate to take immediate and long-term action on air pollution. This is a collective problem and it will take coordination at all levels of government to solve it. Logos fom our current partners.