Hundreds killed by air pollution
Seven per cent of deaths in west London attributable to its effects
AIR pollution is 31 times more deadly than car accidents in west London, according to recent figures.
Public Health England revealed 6.9% of the total number of adult deaths were caused by air pollution in west London in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.
Given that 10,707 adults died in west London in 2013, this means that 736 deaths were attributable to the effects of air pollution, a figure 31 times higher than the 24 people who died in car accidents in the area that year.
These figures do not mean that air pollution was the sole cause of 736 deaths but rather that the role that air pollution played in all 10,707 deaths was equivalent to 736 deaths on its own.
Westminster was the worst offender, where 7.9 per cent of deaths were caused by air pollution, followed by Kensington and Chelsea on 7.8 per cent.
But the highest number of deaths were found in Ealing at 128, followed by Hillingdon with 112 people.
Despite the high number of air pollution deaths across west London in 2013, the numbers are lower when compared with 2010.
These figures come a day after Greenpeace installed gas masks on several famous monuments in London in protest at high air pollution levels.
A spokesperson for protest group Plane Stupid said: “We know that the aviation industry’s emissions are killing us.
“Heathrow consistently breaches EU limits on nitrous oxides, causing poor health and early death.
“Within 20 miles of Heathrow Airport, aircraft emissions result in approximately 31 deaths per year. This January alone, London breached EU air pollution limits for the whole year in just eight days.”
One of Plane Stupid’s aims is to put an end to short haul flights and airport expansion.
The spokesperson added: “This report helps to highlight the gravity of this invisible threat to all our lives.”
But Heathrow Airport insists it is taking air pollution very seriously and is taking action.
A spokesperson for the airport said: “We have already reduced annual emissions from airport activity by 16 per cent over five years.
“But local air pollution arises primarily from road traffic, the vast majority of which is not related to the airport, and not airport emissions.
“Traffic pollution in London and on the major roads around Heathrow such as the M4 and M25 needs action from multiple partners.
“That is why Heathrow has called for coordinated and meaningful action from government and City Hall for an integrated transport strategy to get cleaner vehicles onto major roads and motorways.”
Across the whole of England, 24,807 deaths were attributable to air pollution in 2013 – 5.3 per cent of the total number of adult deaths that year.