Labour vows to protect elderly from poor air quality

More than seven million older people in England are living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution, the Labour Party has warned.

According to a new analysis of figures obtained from the House of Commons Library, the opposition party has claimed more than seven million aged 60 and over lived in areas, which breached legal pollution limits in 2015.

These figures include 3.7 million people aged 70 and over 1.45 million people.

In total, 56% of all people aged 60 and over in England lived in an area, which breached air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide in 2015.

Outside of London; Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest percentage of people aged 60 and over living in areas breaching air quality standards (79%) followed by the north east (72%), north west (67%) and the West Midlands (62%).

The findings follow previous Labour research, which has shown that more than 38 million people across the UK in 2015 lived in areas where air quality breached legal limit, including over 8.3 million under 18.

As reported by Environment Journal last month, the government’s air quality plans were recently found to be unlawful for the third time in the High Courts.

In a landmark decision, the High Court judges said the government’s failure to require action from 45 local authorities with illegal levels of air pollution in their area was ‘unlawful’.

Labour has promised to introduce a new Clean Air Act to tackle illegal levels of air pollution.

The party’s shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman, said: ‘It cannot be right that the majority of older people live in areas with illegally poor and polluted air.

‘Despite losing repeatedly in the courts on this issue, spending taxpayers’ money whilst doing so, the government has completely failed to act on air pollution.

‘Labour has promised a new Clear Air Act to get a grip on this escalating public health emergency.’

Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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