Government aims to put new legal air pollution limits in place by October 2022

18 Jun 2021

Measures to tackle air pollution have been announced by the government after a coroner found toxic air contributed to the death of nine-year-old, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, in 2013. 

The inquest into Ella's death found levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) near her home in Lewisham, south-east London, exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) and European Union guidelines. 

The hearing found Ella had been exposed to ‘excessive’ levels of pollution and the coroner, recommended lowering the legal limit of particulate matter in the air and improving public awareness. 

Responding to the coroner's recommendations, the government announced it aimed to have new legal air pollution limits in place by October 2022 and that the limits will be informed by WHO guidelines on PM2.5 pollution among other sources. 

The government's response, announced on Clean Air Day 2021, also sets out moves to work with broadcasters, social media companies and app providers, to spread information about pollution levels. 

The NHS will also work on a more systematic approach to asthma management, the government has said. 

The Government’s response is part of a much wider cross-government effort to drive forward tangible and long-lasting changes to improve the air quality, as well as doing more to inform the public about the risks. 

Whilst this a welcome move by the Government, opening a consultation on new standards falls short of the Government’s commitment to legally binding WHO recommended targets in the Environment Bill, that many campaigners had hoped for.

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