1Air pollution has long-term consequences on public health and the economies of UK cities

Air pollution worsens people’s quality of life and contributes to many health problems, thus reducing life expectancy. It increases the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, stroke1 and dementia. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) estimate that 40,000 premature deaths per year are attributable to poor air quality.2And from an economic perspective, the World Bank estimated that premature deaths in the UK represented a monetary cost of up to £57 million in 2013. Poor air quality is also responsible for lost working days – the RCP and RCPCH report estimated it caused over 6 million sick days and a total social cost of £22.6 billion a year.3



  • 1 Andersen Z J et al. (2012), Stroke and Long-Term Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution from Nitrogen Dioxide: a cohort study
  • 2 Royal College of Physicians/Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2016), Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution
  • 3 This approach takes into account individual’s willingness to pay to avoid premature deaths as well as the financial cost of premature mortality: the present value of lifetime earnings. World Bank (2016), The cost of Air Pollution: Strengthening the economic case for action