More than 150 deaths each year in Swansea are caused by air pollution in one year, according to a ground-breaking new report by Centre for Cities.
Geraint Davies, Swansea West MP, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution said:
“Globally air pollution now kills more people than smoking and is the biggest public health risk. In Swansea alone 158 people die early each year due to air pollution. The most damaging pollution is the smallest diesel particulates PM2.5 which act like a gas and enter the blood stream even harming unborn babies.
“This latest report shows that someone is 25 times more likely to die from air pollution than in a car crash.
“The government should adopt World Health Organisation guidelines for air pollution and help to reduce exposure to diesel in particular in city centres.
“These measures are included in my Clean Air Bill supported by the Royal College of Physicians who calculate the annual cost of air pollution to be £20 billion. 62,000 people die prematurely a year from heart, lung and brain conditions from pollution.
“I’m calling on the Government to extend grants for electric cars in the Budget and to enact the Clean Air Bill.
“Some local authorities have banned vehicles from city centres. Shockingly, diesel filters emit a huge number of ultrafine particles when the filter is automatically de-coked every 300 miles. Pressure from car manufacturers has ensured that these emissions are not included in EU vehicle emission tests.
“In Swansea we must all promote healthy lifestyles and get out of our cars and I will be working with schools to help.
“A study in Los Angeles found academic performance improved after air filters were fitted in a school. This underlines the need to protect schools from outside idling traffic at the start and end of the school day.
“After Brexit we will no longer be protected by EU Air Quality Standards, so we urgently need a Clean Air Bill, and a National Clean Air Agency to enforce it.”