Eastbourne among UK’s most polluted towns

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Eastbourne has failed to meet best standards of air pollution, a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed today (12 May)

The WHO report found Eastbourne is one of 10 major UK towns and cities which are failing to meet standards for fine particle air pollution.

As a result of the report environmental charity Friends of the Earth is calling for Clean Air Zones to be introduced across all UK cities and towns, including Eastbourne.

The charity is also calling for urgent action to get high pollution diesel vehicles off the roads to improve air quality.

Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, said, “The figures for Europe might look like they’re improving slightly but we’re still talking about dangerous levels of pollution. There is no safe level of exposure.

“This is yet another report which shows the air we breathe is unsafe. With 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK from air pollution, what more will it take for our political leaders to act?

“This is a public health crisis. It’s time it was treated that way. Eastbourne needs fewer and cleaner vehicles, and to help achieve this it needs a Clean Air Zone. Politicians must urgently introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to get the worst polluting vehicles off our roads, as well as more investment in alternatives to driving.”

The WHO report reveals the following 10 UK towns and cities are breaching their air quality standards for levels of PM10 particulate air pollution: Port Talbot, Stanford–le-Hope, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Scunthorpe, Eastbourne, Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton. Many more UK cities were also breaching limits for smaller particle air pollution (PM2.5).

Friends of the Earth say that although the research shows a slight reduction in overall levels of particulates in the air we breathe across Europe – the figures are not coming down quickly enough to keep people safe. Air pollution from particulates can cause lung cancer, heart and lung disease and research has revealed there is no safe limit of exposure.

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