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Government is not taking responsibility for improving air quality, MPs say

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7399 (Published 14 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7399
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The government is putting the health of people living in UK cities at risk by trying to water down European Union rules on air quality rather than implementing them as a priority, says parliament’s environmental watchdog.

A report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee published on 14 November says that, despite a commitment by the coalition government to work towards full compliance with EU air quality standards, ministers seem to be actively trying to dilute safety standards to avoid EU fines.

Dangerous levels of particulate matter and pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide are shortening the lives of up to 200 000 people in the United Kingdom by up to two years, the report says. In 2008 around 30 000 deaths …

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