Environment Secretary Michael Gove today (Monday 14 January) launched an ambitious new strategy to clean up our air and save lives.
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.
The UK will set an ambitious, long-term target to reduce people’s exposure to particulate matter (PM), which the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified as the most damaging pollutant. To inform development of this new target, the government will publish evidence early this year on what action would be needed to meet WHOguidelines.
This comes on top of a commitment to halve the number of people living in areas breaching WHO guidelines on PM by 2025. The UK is the first major economy to adopt air quality goals based on WHOrecommendations, going far beyond EU requirements.