Greater Manchester’s air pollution crisis highlighted

A new report by IPPR North has found that dangerous levels of air pollution are devastatingly impacting on the health of people living in Greater Manchester.

Costing the regional economy £1 billion every year, air pollution is reducing life expectancy in the region by an average six months and, over the next century, the report estimates that 1.6 million life years will be lost unless action is taken.

Atmosphere: Towards a proper strategy for tackling Greater Manchester’s air pollution crisis says that the ‘human cost of the air pollution crisis’ in the city could not be overstated. It revealed that central Manchester has the highest rate of emergency hospital admissions for asthma in England, more than double the national average and that Manchester City Council ranks as the second worst in England for PM10 particulate pollution, which is linked to conditions such as lung cancer and asthma.

The report also found that the region has one of the worst polluting bus fleets in the UK, with 20 per cent of the fleet made up of the most polluting vehicles, compared with just 10 per cent in London. Carrying on the comparison with the Capital, only 15 buses are entirely electric, compared with more than 500 in London.

The thinktank’s director, Sarah Longlands, said: “People’s lives are being cut short, our children’s health is being put at risk and this is before you even consider the £1 billion annual economic burden that poor quality air places on the local economy. For too long, the debate on air pollution has been focused on London. But now for the first time, we understand the full extent of the problem in Greater Manchester. We simply cannot allow this to continue.”

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