You may have read recently in the press that air pollution is linked to between 23,500 and 40,000 early deaths in the U.K. every year.
Critical analysis by the Winton Centre at Cambridge University has revealed that it’s perhaps more accurate to say that “190,000 cardiovascular deaths are brought forward by an average of two years” and that “many more than 29,000 individuals are affected”.
Whatever the precise figure, this is a very serious issue with significant impacts on life expectancy and NHS costs in terms of treatment and it clearly warrants some urgent action.
Err, so why did the government repeatedly refuse to publish its action plan to combat this crisis? Why when a court had in November ordered Secretary of State for the Environment Andrea Leadsom to publish the draft plan to tackle illegal levels of air pollution across the country did she only do so this week?
Why did the government try to use the ‘election purdah’ to try to prolong the publication?
Well, now we know. Described as ‘toothless’, ‘half baked’ and ‘weak’ by critics, the draft plans were finally aired (but buried under all the attention the local elections got) and only really championed by, guess who: The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.