10 times more people in Calderdale are dying from air pollution than traffic accidents

by jamesbaker on 17 February, 2015


More than 10 times as many people in Calderdale are dying prematurely from air pollution than as a result of traffic accidents. This is the shocking statistic that Councillors were informed of in a meeting of the Scrutiny review group I established to work on the environmental effects on public health.

A Public Health England in a report earlier this year stated that some 93 deaths were attributed in Calderdale per year to air particulate pollution these were across our area and not limited to the air quality management areas AQMA. So this isn’t just a problem in some of the worst hot spots.

If that wasn’t reason enough alone to tackle this problem, we are also at serious risk of being fined for failing to meet our international obligations to reduce air pollution. The government had already given itself powers within the Localism Act to cascade any fines in might incur from the EU to Local Authorities. So Calderdale Council could well be fined unless we start to tackle this problem.

The meeting listened to expert evidence on the topic and we came up with the following draft recommendations to the cabinet of the Council. These recommendations will have to be approved by the full scrutiny panel before they can be included in the full report the group is working.

  • a recommendation to Cabinet seeking its agreement and support to the early revision of the Calderdale Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP), which was written in 2009 and is in need of updating.
  • a recommendation to Cabinet supporting the promotion of undertaking a targeted campaign of awareness of the WYLES work from a public health perspective, delivered through low cost platforms such as social media ( Facebook, Twitter etc.)
  • a recommendation to Cabinet that they endorse/support more direct enforcement work being undertaken by external partners of the Council, such as the police, with legally enforceable powers to tackle unroadworthy vehicles with high emissions.
  • A recommendation to Cabinet that they look into the possibility of undertaking a feasibility study into the possibility of introducing designated Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in Calderdale.

You can read the full minutes of the meeting in the link below. In the meantime one thing we learnt in the meeting is that diesel engines are generally a lot more polluting than petrol engines. Something you might want to consider when replacing your next car.

I’ll certainly be pushing for the Council to do all it can to help reduce air pollution, as it will help save lives.


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