Health effects of air pollution

Modelling the impact of air pollution levels

We're working with HealthLumen to model the health and economic impacts of changing air pollution levels in Lambeth and Southwark.

Key partnership information

Partner: HealthLumen

Funding amount: £26,450

Duration: April 2020 to July 2020

Programme: health effects of air pollution


What we’re doing together

HealthLumen offer a modelling microsimulation solution that can quantify the impact of interventions on future outcomes of non-communicable diseases. To support our air pollution programme, we’re funding HealthLumen to model the long-term impact of air pollution on the health of people of Lambeth and Southwark.

Using geographically specific population data, extrapolated by age and gender, HealthLumen’s computer simulation will model different scenarios to:

  • Quantify the current annual morbidity, including disease incidence and NHS costs, attributable to air pollution in Lambeth and Southwark.
  • Quantify the long-term morbidity impacts, including reductions in disease incidence, NHS cost savings, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, over the next 5 years’ time if Southwark and Lambeth were to meet the limits set by the WHO for PM2.5.
  • Quantify the long-term morbidity impacts over the next 5 years’ time in a ‘best case scenario’ where Lambeth and Southwark reach the NO2 and PM2.5 levels of the local authority with the lowest NO2 and PM2.5 levels in London (Havering).
  • Quantify the long-term morbidity impacts over the next 5 years’ time if Southwark and Lambeth reduce their NO2 and PM2.5 levels by the same percentage as it has been reduced in the COVID lockdown.


Aims of the partnership

  • Better understand how changes to air quality will directly impact on people’s health in Lambeth and Southwark
  • Inform our programme approach and test key assumptions of how our programme could create impact
  • Help us understand the attributable cost and morbidity of varying air pollution levels
  • Contribute to our thinking around evaluation by understanding the current burden of health issues, and how this might change if air pollution is significantly improved


Connection to our strategy

The develop phase of our health effects of air pollution programme has been exploring ways to better understand the scale of the effects of air pollution in Lambeth and Southwark. This project provides that opportunity and will allow us to build our evidence on the current burden of air pollution on the population’s health and the cost to health systems locally.

By modelling changes in air pollution levels (PM2.5 and NO2) and its effects, the project will also contribute to our thinking around impact measurement. It will provide insight into the outcomes of a lower level of air pollution and allow us to understand how we might begin to measure the impact of our programme on the population’s health and local health services.

About HealthLumen

HealthLumen work to improve global health by using a sophisticated modelling platform to forecast trends in risk factors and chronic diseases, and simulating their impact on population health and the economy.

Visit the HealthLumen site
Anna Tarkington, Data Partnerships Manager

Have questions about our partnership with HealthLumen?

Anna Tarkington leads our work on modelling the impact of air pollution

Contact Anna to find out more