friends of the earth
Greater Manchester has second highest admission rates for the lung disease COPD. Friends of the Earth clean air campaigners call for politicians of all stripes to do something about it.

On Wednesday it was World COPD Day, and Manchester Friends of the Earth is calling on all candidates seeking to be elected as Greater Manchester MPs to support urgent action to reduce the illegal levels of air pollution across Greater Manchester, which has the second highest admission rates for COPD in England.

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties, such as bronchitis and emphysema, and affects around 1.2million people in the UK.

The Greater Manchester city-region has the second highest admission rates for COPD in England, and it is estimated that the cost of managing COPD-related hospital admissions and medications for Greater Manchester is around £73 million each year, with further indirect costs estimated to be as much as £1.8billion.

The latest report from King’s College London, released today*, shows that living by a busy road can increase the risk of lung cancer by 10% and can stunt children’s lung growth by up to 14%. Other research published in the European Respiratory Journal has highlighted that air pollution will prematurely age the lungs of the average UK citizen by more than four years over the course of their lifetime.

The Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, which is expected to go out for consultation in January 2020, accepts that air pollution will not reach legal levels until 2024. This means that a child born in 2019 will be five years old before they breathe legal (but not safe) air…

“The current GM Clean Air plan does not cover all polluting vehicles even in the areas with the highest levels of air pollution such as Manchester City Centre” states Manchester Friends of the Earth “The inclusion of private cars in the Clean Air Zone scheme would allow Greater Manchester to deliver cleaner and safer air as quickly as possible, which is both essential for reaching legal targets and to protect the most vulnerable people’s health.”

Friends of the Earth

The organisation is now calling on parliamentary candidates to support measures to tackle air pollution in Greater Manchester and across the UK…

* urge the Greater Manchester Mayor and local council leaders to include all polluting vehicles in the GM Clean Air Zone proposal.

*  a new Clean Air Act making a legally binding commitment to meet World Health Organization guidelines for particulate matter by 2030 and enshrining the right to breathe clean air into domestic law.

* to set a 2030 cut-off date for the sale of petrol and diesel cars, vans and buses.

“Alongside the Climate Emergency that local councils have declared, Greater Manchester needs to recognise that air pollution is a Public Health Emergency and we need urgent and effective action to ensure we all have clean and safe air to breathe” says Catherine Thomson from Manchester Friends of the Earth Clean Air campaign.


First published in the Salford Star, 25 November 2019

See also the Salford Star article on King’s College research showing the affects on lungs of pollution – click here

Read The Meteor’s previous coverage of air pollution – click here

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