The Guardian recently published an article on a report from the National Audit Office, which found that the UK will not meet EU targets on air quality until 2021.
The report from the NAO highlights evidence on the health impact of air pollution published by the Royal College of Physicians, which we have featured elsewhere on this site. The RCP puts this figure at £20 billion.
Fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides are two of the contributing factors to the health impact from air pollution. These have both been flagged by PAIN with regard to the Rivenhall incinerator as incineration is known to produce this matter and nitrogen oxide. In 2008, nearly 30,000 deaths were thought to be caused by fine particulate matter.
Local authorities should be doing more to support the Government in meeting the targets on air quality – without their action in this area, we will continue to fall behind. Essex County Council needs to be held accountable for any decisions they make that will have an effect on the wider region and even the rest of the country.
The Government is due to publish a comprehensive clean air strategy next year; we would urge this to include a greater focus on incinerators and other waste processing plants as well as other sources of air pollution.