Kate attended a parliamentary reception in Westminster this week hosted by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) to hear first-hand about the devastating impact of air pollution to Trafford residents.
At the reception Kate met healthcare professionals and individuals representing the 12 million people in the UK living with a lung condition, who are most at risk from the acute effects of poor air quality.
According to annual Public Health England figures 105 deaths in Trafford were attributed to air pollution.
The annual cost of air pollution to the UK is estimated to be £23 billion due to the increased use of the NHS, social care and lost working days.
Formally recognised as a public health emergency by NHS England, air pollution is linked to a wide range of health problems including lung disease, stroke and cancer.
That’s why the BLF is calling for government to make the legally binding commitment to meet World Health Organisation guideline levels for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by 2030, at the latest.
Fine particulate matter is more than 30 times smaller than a human hair and can penetrate deep into the lungs, where it has the potential to enter the bloodstream. There are many sources of this type of pollution, with road traffic being a major contributor.
However, the Environment Bill currently allows the government department responsible for air pollution to wait until 2022 to set targets meaning people will have to wait years for any significant improvements.
That’s why Kate is joining the BLF in urging the government to bring forward the deadline, using the existing World Health Organisation’s guidelines, to set world-leading targets within the Environment Bill.
Kate said, “Air quality is exceptionally poor in parts of my constituency which causes all sorts of health problems for residents – especially children and elderly people. That’s why we need immediate action from the government to clean up our air.
“I completely agree with Clean Air Greater Manchester when they say, ‘150 years ago, Greater Manchester got clean water – it’s time we got clean air.’
“I know Trafford Council and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham have some great plans to improve our air quality, and I’ll be making sure I put pressure on the government to match this with action.”
Zak Bond, Policy Officer at The British Lung Foundation, said: “Air pollution is bad for everybody but disproportionately affects the 1 in 5 people living in the UK who have an existing lung condition.
It’s unacceptable that we are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution throughout the UK day in and day out.
“The government must act now to tackle the public health crisis facing the NHS and the country by using the Environment Bill as an opportunity to be world leaders in the fight for clean air. We urge them to set strict targets on PM2.5 in line with WHO guidelines, which must be met by 2030 at the latest.”