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Pollution from traffic killing thousands annually - study

Words: Huw Morris
Cycling commuter with anti-pollution mask

Air pollution from traffic is causing 28,869 deaths a year across the UK, according to major research by government agency Public Health England.

Statistics collated by the agency show London and the South East have the worst air in the UK. In London, 3,389 people died of air pollution in 2010 while 4,034 people died in the South East.
The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has the most polluted air in the country with more than one in 12 of all deaths attributable to diesel fumes.
Scotland has the purest air in the country. Only eights deaths in the Outer Hebrides, six in the Orkneys and six in the Shetland Islands were blamed on air pollution during the period of the study.
Dr Paul Cosford, PHE’s director of health protection and medical director, said: "Policies that encourage a shift from motorised transport to walking and cycling would be expected to reduce total vehicle emissions, including particulate pollution. If this could be achieved in towns and cities, then we could expect local improvements in air quality. There would also be health benefits from increased physical activity through walking and cycling."