Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has announced the successful completion of a groundbreaking pilot study on reducing poor air quality through community measures.

The pilot study was launched in November 2022 by a consortium led by Enjoy the Air in partnership with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to examine the link between air pollution, behaviour and the cost of air pollution-related healthcare in the Sandwell area.

Data gathered in Sandwell over the course of the six-month review showed that poor air quality will continue to damage health in the local population if it is not improved.

Funded by a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Fast Start Innovation grant, the consortium, which included HealthLumen, i2 media research and Earthsense, shared their expertise to gather and analyse a wide range of air quality data. This has shown the relationship between air quality and health care spending and demonstrated the effect of various interventions to reduce air pollution and improve quality of life.

The results demonstrate that Sandwell Borough Council could save an estimated £37million in NHS direct costs over the next decade. Nationally, between 2017 and 2025, the total cost to the NHS and social care of air pollution is estimated to be at least £1.60 billion for PM 2.5 and NO 2 combined.

Enjoy the Air intends to extend this methodology to other councils, offering support in combating air pollution. This project built on HealthLumen’s previous work analysing the effect of lockdown on air pollution-related health in two London boroughs.

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