Act now for clean air and a healthy heart, says MP

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson called for action on air quality on Clean Air Day.

Mr Esterson said we could all help improve air quality by leaving our cars at home and walking when possible.

The MP spoke in support of the British Heart Foundation's campaign to improve air quality and heart health through using the car less and getting more active.

 

The MP, who has campaigned against the new Rimrose Valley Road on air quality grounds, also called on the Government to invest in making the UK’s air safe to breathe.

Constituents with heart and circulatory conditions are at increased risk of health issues caused by air pollution.

Air pollution is now the largest environmental risk factor linked to deaths in England, with the majority of air-pollution related deaths worldwide (58 per cent) caused by heart disease or stroke. 

Pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) - small particles found in emissions from diesel engines and wood burning stoves- can impact on cardiovascular health and increase the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and stroke.

The BHF is urging government to adopt World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines into UK law.

This will ensure that efforts to reduce air pollution achieve meaningful outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups whose lives are impacted by outdoor air pollution.

The EU air quality limits that the UK currently follows are equal to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended upper limits for nitrogen dioxide but are less stringent than the WHO’s guidelines for health-harmful pollutants.

Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, said: “It’s important that we have better air quality so my constituents living with a heart and circulatory condition don’t need to worry about dirty air damaging their health when they leave the house. Research has shown that even the smallest reduction can make a big difference in preventing new cases of coronary heart disease.

“I’m supporting the call for effective action to be taken to clean up our air and that includes opposing the new Rimrose Valley Road. Roadside emissions are the biggest cause of ill health from poor air quality and those living near the road from the port already face some of the worst air pollution in the country. We should be looking for rail and for road tunnels not adding to pollution and making air quality worse. Clean Air Day is therefore the right time to once again make the case that building a new road through Rimrose Valley is the wrong answer to the demand for more transport capacity for the port.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“It’s great to have the support of Bill Esterson MP with encouraging action to promote and protect the nation’s heart health from the effects of air pollution.

“We know that to have good heart and circulatory health, people need to be active. But BHF-funded research suggests that poor air quality can cancel out the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in vulnerable people. Further BHF-funded research has also shown that particulate matter increases the risk of potentially fatal complications for people with a heart or circulatory condition.

“To reduce this risk, we urgently need WHO limits for PM to be adopted into new air quality legislation as soon as possible.”

You can learn more about the BHF’s research and work on air pollution by visiting https://www.bhf.org.uk/airpollutionpolicy

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