Soaring smog levels may kill 10,000 people a year
Sunday 07 May 1995
If adopted and enforced by ministers, it could seriously restrict the amount of traffic - particularly diesel vehicles - allowed in towns and cities. The meeting - which follows a week of soaring smog levels all over Britain - is set to mark the start of a long, hot summer for Environment Secretary John Gummer.
Particulates - tiny specks emitted in black smoke from burning fuel - have largely passed unremarked in the furore over last week's smog. Concern has centred on ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, all of which have exceeded health limits.
But experts agree that particulates pose a far more deadly danger. Estimates, based on US studies, suggest that they kill 10,000 Britons every year from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
Emissions of black smoke from vehicles rose by 85 per cent between 1982 and 1992, and increasing sales of diesel cars - often marketed as "green" vehicles - have made matters worse.
Members of the Expert Panel said privately last week that they expect to set a tough standard on Friday and its chairman, Professor Anthony Seaton, said, earlier this year, that the recommendation "may cause a storm".
The standard may allow as little as 50 micrograms of the smallest, (and deadliest) particulates for every cubic metre of air, and the scientists are anxious to keep the level low, because research shows that there is a 1 per cent increase in deaths for every extra 10 micrograms of the pollution in the air.
Nobody knows the extent of the pollution across the country because the Government has not monitored it properly. But measurements suggest that it commonly ranges between 100 and 150 micrograms per cubic metre in urban areas.
Fiona Weir, air pollution campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said last week: "I have no doubt that a tough standard will require cuts in traffic in British towns and cities. But it is essential. We are talking about a pollutant that kills, and kills in large numbers."
Hospitals yesterday reported a slight increase in people attending casualty suffering from asthma attacks. Smog levels were the highest in East Anglia with 116 parts per billion; surveys says air quality becomes poor at 90 ppb.
nAn experiment to reduce congestion and pollution by cutting the 70 mph motorway speed limit will begin this month, Transport Secretary Dr Brian Mawhinney said yesterday. A section of the M25 around London, one of Britain's most congested stretches of motorway, will be used in the pilot project.
Leading article, page 26
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 5 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...