Health effects of air pollution

A guide to a fairer, healthier transport system

26 April 2023
2 min read

We were delighted to work with Asthma + Lung UK on their new report, which is an invaluable guide and re-imagines a healthier transport system.

Air pollution isn’t only a public health crisis, shortening the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country and costing the economy billions of pounds per year. It’s also a social justice issue.   

People who can’t afford to drive are those who are most affected by air pollution from traffic. And time and time again, research shows us that, while everyone is affected by air pollution, it’s those on the lower incomes – or those with existing health conditions, or children, or people from minoritised ethnicities, or older people – who are most affected. 

Yet, for decades, infrastructure has supported drivers. To save our climate and to protect people from deadly air pollution, it’s now time to support people to travel in cleaner, more efficient, cheaper, and healthier ways. This report is a guide for doing that in a fair, equitable way. 

Reducing car use is a monumental challenge, especially by the levels required to make a difference. This isn’t just a case of making public spaces nicer places to be. It’s about the urgent need to address the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions and deadly air pollution: transport. In London, for example, there is a need for a 27% reduction in the number of kilometres travelled by car by 2030.  

But as the Government, councils, and businesses meet this challenge, one thing is clear: That those most affected by air pollution must be prioritised every step of the way. Solutions must be equitable and not worsen already dire health, economic and social inequalities. 

This report is an invaluable guide to doing just that. It describes a practical, evidenced-based policy solution to equitably reduce car use across the country while protecting those who are most vulnerable, and whose health is most affected by air pollution. 

You can read the report here. 

'Putting the brakes on toxic air': Read Asthma+Lung UK's new report