It is especially ironic that the local council is closing the bus lane in order to allocate more of the road space to motorised vehicles with the intention of reducing air pollution. The local air pollution problem was declared in January 2001, and is now over eighteen years old, perhaps locals can let us know if there was a big birthday celebration last month. Progress to improve air quality for the residents of Derby has evidently been lackadaisical at best. I’m not really familiar with Derby, but it would appear that the road where the bus lane will be removed from is at least partly within this air quality management zone.
The Royal College of Physicians report on air pollution can be found here Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution.
Royal College of Physicians wrote: The report starkly sets out the dangerous impact air pollution is currently having on our nation’s health. Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution which plays a role in many of the major health challenges of our day. It has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and changes linked to dementia. The health problems resulting from exposure to air pollution have a high cost to people who suffer from illness and premature death, to our health services and to business. In the UK, these costs add up to more than £20 billion every year.
This would suggest that there are approximately 150 premature deaths per year occurring in Derby as a result of the poor air quality, and the fact that this has now been going on for more than 18 years suggests that the cumulative total death toll is likely to be quite significant. This calculation is based on the proportion of the UK population living in Derby, and simply assumes that they get their fair share of the 40,000 annual premature deaths that occur in the UK each year as a direct result of outdoor air pollution.
Surely, if we could just save one life it would be more than worthwhile…
I’m glad that I don’t live in Derby.