A type of air pollution is causing more premature deaths amongst the population of North West Leicestershire than anywhere else in the East Midlands. According to official figures from Public Health England, fine particulate matter, mainly from diesel engines, is to blame for 5.8% of adult mortality.
Sean Sheahan, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate has commented on the data for North West Leicestershire, “it’s quite shocking to see that diesel emissions are to blame for a higher percentage of premature deaths in North West Leicestershire compared to big cities like Leicester and Nottingham.”
Air quality has hit the headlines recently with the Government being dragged through the courts due to illegal levels of air pollution which is reckoned to cause 40,000 early deaths per year across the country. Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has called it a scandal.
Mr Sheahan added, “Clearly, air quality is a national problem, and I welcome Labour’s commitment to introduce a new Clean Air Act. However, we still need to understand why health outcomes locally are so bad.”
North West Leicestershire District Council acknowledge that air pollution is a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. There is also often a strong correlation with equalities issues, because areas with poor air quality are also often the less affluent areas.
Cllr Dr Terri Eynon who practised as a GP in Coalville said, “I have seen a lot of chronic lung disease in my work and as far as air pollution is concerned, I blame a lack of public transport and an overreliance on car use.”
Mr Sheahan said, “This Tory Government has evaded its obligations on clean air for too long. if elected as an MP, I would work with the Government and local councils to take positive action to improve air quality in North West Leicestershire and combat the scandal of people dying as a result of breathing dirty air.”
Fraction of mortality attributable to particulate air pollution: 5.8% in NW Leics. These figures (2015) are the latest available.
NWLDC 2016 Air Quality Annual Status Report (February, 2017) The Council used 2013 data.