Air pollution has an adverse effect on people’s health, both in the long- and short-term. The Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity commissioned HealthLumen to undertake a project to quantify the impact of air pollution on the health of the populations of the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. In these areas, the majority of air pollution comes from road traffic, but also from heating and construction emissions. A number of policies have been put in place London-wide to reduce air pollution emissions and therefore prevent related impacts (for example ULEZ and BreatheLondon), as well as locally in Lambeth and Southwark. The findings of this study build on the existing body of knowledge on this topic by quantifying the impact of specific scenarios on air-pollution related health burden.
The key conclusions are that borough-specific and pan-London actions are required alongside local and national legislation and policy if larger health benefits and cost savings are to be made. It is clear that measures to maintain levels of NO2 emissions found during the COVID-19 lockdown and to meet the WHO levels for PM2.5 would have significant health and cost benefits for both Lambeth and Southwark.
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Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) commissioned HealthLumen to quantify the health impacts of policies designed to reduce levels of air pollution and improve long-term health. This 2020 study estimates the number of new cases of disease and the resulting costs to the NHS and social care system under three scenarios from 2016 to 2050. The results from this study show that the ULEZ policies and broader, more all-encompassing LES policies have important impacts on the health of Londoners.
In 2018, we worked with Public Health England, Imperial College School of Public Health and Imperial College Business School. Together, we created a new tool that helps local authorities estimate how much they could save the NHS by taking action on air pollution.