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Clean Air Strategy developed to calculate NHS and social care costs of air pollution

The health and social care costs of air pollution in England could reach £5.3 billion by 2035 unless action is taken, according to a new report and cost tool published today by Public Health England (PHE). Last year, the costs were £42.88 million. Local authorities will be able to use it to inform their policies to improve air quality. The report and tool are part of the wider government strategy to reduce air pollution which was announced today, Tuesday 22 May 2018, by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Working with the UK Health Forum and Imperial College London, PHE’s report and tool highlight the potential costs to the NHS and social care system of exposure to Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), 2 of the pollutants to be dealt with under the government strategy. A relatively small reduction in the population’s exposure to PM2.5 and NO2 could lead to a significant reduction in costs. Modelling was carried out at the national level and for 2 local authorities, Lambeth and South Lakeland, which represent areas with high and low levels of PM2.5 and NO2 respectively. All local authorities can use the tool to estimate the impact on health and the savings to the NHS and social care under different air pollution scenarios. Before the draft strategy is fully implemented, DEFRA are calling for consultants to review and provide feedback on the draft. As air pollution is an issue that is wide reaching and impacts all areas of the United Kingdom, an emphasis on co-operation has been encouraged. All members, such as the Welsh and Scottish Governments as well as the Northern Ireland Executive, have and will continue to play a role in the implementing the strategy. Furthermore, the department are also asking for the public’s views on the strategy, as well as asking for any further suggestions on how to improve. In order to achieve this they have provided a copy of the strategy which is publicly available for download here. As well as this, an online survey in which you can submit your response has been produced to help best capture feedback. You can also choose to submit your response to the consultation questions by email to cleanair.consultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk or by post to Clean Air Strategy consultation, Air Quality and Industrial Emissions Team, Defra, Ground Floor, Seacole Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF.

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