Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"


View sample alert
Written Question
Air Pollution
10 Jun 2021

Questioner: Baroness Randerson (LDEM - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the coroner’s reports relating to the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah and the prevention of future deaths, published on 20 April, whether they have accepted the recommendation that the UK’s legal limit for particulate pollution should be halved to bring it in line with WHO guidelines; and what steps they have taken (1) to improve public warnings on air pollution levels, and (2) to improve awareness among medical staff of the need to provide more information to patients on the health impacts of air pollution.

Answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

Our thoughts continue to be with Ella's family and friends. We are carefully considering the Prevention of Future Deaths Report published by the Coroner on 21 April and we will respond in due course.

We know that air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health, and although air pollution has reduced significantly over the last decade, there is more to do. In 2019, we published our Clean Air Strategy which recognised the need for comprehensive action on air pollution for the primary and crucial purpose of protecting people's health.

Our landmark Environment Bill delivers key aspects of our Strategy. The Bill establishes a legally binding duty to set at least two new air quality targets, through the environmental targets framework. We recognise the need to take action to reduce people's exposure to PM 2.5 and in proposing a dual target approach, we are putting health at the centre of our target setting. This approach will ensure action is taken at pollution hotspots and continuous improvement will be driven across the country. We will take into account WHO guidance when setting these targets

Defra makes air pollution information available through a range of channels, such as the UK-Air website and more recently working with Global Action Plan to deliver the Clean Air Hub. We also provide information to a network of charities (e.g. the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, British Heart Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, British Thoracic Society and others) when air pollution levels are forecast to be elevated to ensure information reaches the most vulnerable.

The Department for Health and Social Care continues to engage with organisations such as Health Education England and the Royal Colleges to ensure that healthcare professionals are equipped to provide information and advice to those vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution. The Chief Medical Officer has also discussed this matter with the Royal Colleges during a recent meeting. This will allow patients and their carers to take steps to reduce their exposure to air pollution and give them greater power to manage their condition.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to improve asthma outcomes for children and young people. The Children and Young People's Transformation Programme has asked local systems to prioritise local improvements in asthma care. This will include supporting clinicians to discuss the short and long-term adverse effects of air pollution in children with asthma and any mitigation strategies.


Written Question
Air Pollution: Death
24 May 2021

Questioner: Nicholas Brown (LAB - Newcastle upon Tyne East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of deaths that were attributed to air pollution in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne, (b) the North East and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Answered by Jo Churchill

Of the last five years, data estimates are available are for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The following table shows the fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to human-made particulate air pollution in Newcastle upon Tyne, the North East and England.

2016

2017

2018

2019

Newcastle upon Tyne

3.6%

3.7%

3.8%

3.5%

North East

3.6%

3.7%

3.8%

3.6%

England

5.4%

5.1%

5.2%

5.1%

Source: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/search/air%20pollution


Written Question
Air Pollution: Death
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Geraint Davies (LAB - Swansea West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the coroner's Report to prevent future deaths following the inquest into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, what estimate he has made of the effect of reducing national limits for Particulate Matter in line with the World Health Organisation's guidelines on the number of deaths from air pollution in the UK.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

Our thoughts continue to be with Ella's family and friends. We will carefully consider the recommendations in the Prevention of Future Deaths report and respond in due course.

We know there is a strong case for taking ambitious action on PM2.5 as it is the pollutant that has the most significant impact on health. That is why we are introducing a duty to set a PM2.5 target - alongside at least one additional long-term air quality target - in the Environment Bill.

The costs, benefits and distributional impacts of any measures to meet air quality targets on businesses and wider society will be assessed as part of our development of targets under the Environment Bill Framework. They will be included in an Impact Assessment which will accompany a public consultation on environmental targets in early 2022. To inform this analysis, we have asked the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants for expert advice to ensure we are taking account of the latest health evidence. World Health Organization guidelines will also be considered to inform target development.


Written Question
Ella Kissi-Debrah
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Geraint Davies (LAB - Swansea West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals in the Environment Bill in response to the recommendations of the coroner's report following the inquest into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

Our thoughts continue to be with Ella’s family and friends. We will carefully consider the recommendations in the Prevention of Future Deaths report and respond in due course.

We know that air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health, and although air pollution has reduced significantly over the last decade, there is more to do. This is why the Government is continuing to take urgent action to curb the impact air pollution has on communities across England through the world-leading Clean Air Strategy, the landmark Environment Bill, and the delivery of the £3.8 billion plan to clean up transport and tackle nitrogen dioxide pollution at the roadside.

We know there is a strong case for taking ambitious action on PM2.5 as it is the pollutant that has the most significant impact on health. That is why we are introducing a duty to set a PM2.5 target – alongside at least one additional long-term air quality target - in the Environment Bill. We have always been clear that we will consider the World Health Organization’s guidelines for PM2.5 at part of this process.


Written Question
Death: Air Pollution
22 Oct 2020

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher (LAB - Coventry North East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of deaths that were attributed to poor air quality in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years.

Answered by Jo Churchill

Public Health England is responsible for collecting data to better understand public health challenges. This data is available via the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England portal, which includes an indicator for air pollution expressed as the fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to human-made particulate air pollution. This is updated annually. The data are available to view at the following link:

https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework/data#gid/1000043/par/E12000004

Of the last five years, data estimates are available are for 2016, 2017 and 2018 and are shown in the following table.

Fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to human-made particulate air pollution in Coventry, West Midlands Region, West Midlands Combined Authority and England

2016

2017

2018

Coventry

5.9%

5.5%

5.6%

West Midlands Region

5.5%

4.9%

5.0%

West Midlands Combined Authority

Not available

5.4%

5.5%

England

5.4%

5.1%

5.2%

Source: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework/data#gid/1000043/par/E12000004


Written Question
Coronavirus: Research
14 Sep 2020

Questioner: Geraint Davies (LAB - Swansea West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research into understanding the biological mechanisms of long-term covid-19 symptoms and air pollution.

Answered by Amanda Solloway

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided research funding for programmes looking into the factors that contribute to the severity of Covid-19 cases. This includes £4.9m funding to the ISARIC consortium for research and provision of real time information into the factors, including existing respiratory conditions, that put people most at risk of developing severe hospitalised illness as a result of Covid-19; and £1m to OpenSAFELY, a secure platform linking the primary care NHS records of 24 million patients, which is able to identify patients at higher risk of admission, ventilation and death from Covid-19.

UKRI’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) provides a national capability in air pollution research that underpins ongoing evaluations of the potential relationship between long-term air pollution exposure, respiratory conditions and COVID-19 symptoms and mortality. UKRI has also funded or repurposed at least 12 research projects studying the links between Covid-19 and air quality.

Through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Department of Health and Social Care funds 14 Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs), which are research partnerships between universities and Public Health England (PHE). One of these Units, the NIHR HPRU in Environmental Exposures and Health based at Imperial College London, undertakes research on the health effects associated with exposure to a range of environmental pollutants. This includes research to investigate possible links between air pollution and COVID-19. Further information on projects on COVID-19 that are underway at the Unit can be found here: https://eeh.hpru.nihr.ac.uk/covid-19-projects/.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Research
14 Sep 2020

Questioner: Geraint Davies (LAB - Swansea West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support research into covid-19 and respiratory conditions caused by air pollution.

Answered by Amanda Solloway

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided research funding for programmes looking into the factors that contribute to the severity of Covid-19 cases. This includes £4.9m funding to the ISARIC consortium for research and provision of real time information into the factors, including existing respiratory conditions, that put people most at risk of developing severe hospitalised illness as a result of Covid-19; and £1m to OpenSAFELY, a secure platform linking the primary care NHS records of 24 million patients, which is able to identify patients at higher risk of admission, ventilation and death from Covid-19.

UKRI’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) provides a national capability in air pollution research that underpins ongoing evaluations of the potential relationship between long-term air pollution exposure, respiratory conditions and COVID-19 symptoms and mortality. UKRI has also funded or repurposed at least 12 research projects studying the links between Covid-19 and air quality.

Through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Department of Health and Social Care funds 14 Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs), which are research partnerships between universities and Public Health England (PHE). One of these Units, the NIHR HPRU in Environmental Exposures and Health based at Imperial College London, undertakes research on the health effects associated with exposure to a range of environmental pollutants. This includes research to investigate possible links between air pollution and COVID-19. Further information on projects on COVID-19 that are underway at the Unit can be found here: https://eeh.hpru.nihr.ac.uk/covid-19-projects/.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Nitrogen Oxides
1 Jun 2020

Questioner: Baroness Kennedy of Cradley (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any correlation between nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide levels in the air and COVID-19 (1) infection, and (2) death rates.

Answered by Lord Bethell

Currently, there is no clear evidence to suggest that nitrogen dioxide and/or nitric oxide have a direct link to the infection rate or death rate of COVID-19.

Public Health England and other Government departments are reviewing and considering factors such as air pollution which may influence the health impact of COVID-19. This includes assessing whether there is any evidence of an association between exposure to gaseous pollutants or particulates and COVID-19 mortality in the United Kingdom.


Written Question
Air Pollution: Death
31 Mar 2020

Questioner: Baroness Altmann (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people they estimate have died from illnesses resulting from poor air quality or air pollution; and whether either (1) a monthly, or (2) a quarterly, breakdown of those figures is available for each such year.

Answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants estimates that the mortality burden of the air pollution mixture (based on both PM2.5 and NO2) in the UK is equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths per year. Mortality burden is a statistical way of assessing the impact of diseases and pollution. The equivalent figures at a monthly or quarterly period are not available.

Public Health England has, however, estimated the fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to particulate air pollution at local authority level in the Public Health Outcomes Framework. This is available to view and search online at: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework.


Written Question
Asthma: Health Services
26 Jul 2019

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking in response to the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah to (a) improve asthma care and (b) monitor and reduce the effect of air pollution on asthma outcomes.

Answered by Seema Kennedy

The National Health Service is working closely with voluntary sector partners to improve patient outcomes for those with severe asthma and an NHS Cardiovascular Disease-Respiratory national programme has been developed in line with recommendations from the Taskforce for Lung Health.

Both respiratory disease and the health of children and young people are priority areas in the NHS Long Term Plan, which aims to improve respiratory care through earlier diagnosis and increased access to treatments. The Respiratory Delivery Board will take forward respiratory proposals set out in the Plan, while the Children’s Transformation Board will oversee work to review national asthma policy and existing clinical guidelines.

The current quality outcomes framework indicators for asthma are in consultation and changes for the annual review indicators may include data on asthma control; exacerbations; and written personalised action plans. NHS RightCare will be publishing an asthma toolkit later this year to support local commissioners and systems in delivering quality care. A best practice tariff for asthma, which aims to reduce variation in asthma care, is also in development.


Written Question
Air Pollution: Hounslow
6 Mar 2019

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the (1) number of deaths that can be attributed to poor air quality in the London Borough of Hounslow; and (2) impact of the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport on such numbers.

Answered by Baroness Sugg

Air quality is a national health issue, which this Government takes very seriously. This is why the Government recently published the Clean Air Strategy, which includes new measures and funding to cut pollution and save lives.

Public Health England is responsible for collecting data to better understand public health challenges. This data is publically available via the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England portal,[1] which includes an indicator for air pollution expressed as the fraction of adult mortality attributable to long-term exposure to human-made particulate air pollution. The most recent published estimates available are for 2017. These show 6.4% for Hounslow, which is lower than the London average of 6.5%.

The estimates do not cite a specific cause of death of any individual, but reflect an equivalency which is used to assess the impacts of particulate air pollution contributing to death.

With regard to Heathrow expansion, the Airports National Policy Statement is clear that development consent would not be granted if the Secretary of State for Transport is not satisfied that the scheme would be compatible with legal obligations on air quality.

As part of the development consent process, an applicant is required to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality effects of the scheme, including during construction, and to put forward to the Planning Inspectorate an appropriate package of mitigations where necessary to ensure compliance with air quality obligations. The applicant is also required to produce a detailed Health Impacts Assessment to set out the scheme’s impacts on public health, including from worse air quality.

[1] https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/public-health-outcomes-framework/data#gid/1000043/par/E12000004.


Written Question
Air Pollution: Death
28 Nov 2018

Questioner: Preet Kaur Gill (LAB - Birmingham, Edgbaston)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 February 2018 to Question 126648 on Air Pollution: Death, by what year the target of reducing early deaths resulting from air pollution by half is projected to be achieved.

Answered by Thérèse Coffey

The UK has set stringent targets to cut emissions to air by 2020 and 2030 of five pollutants; Particulate Matter, ammonia, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide.

We consulted on our Clean Air Strategy earlier this year which set out proposed actions to meet these targets, and thus, to reduce the harm to human health from air pollution by half by 2030. Our final Clean Air Strategy will be published shortly.


Written Question
Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning
22 Nov 2018

Questioner: Barry Sheerman (LAB - Huddersfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps Public Health England is taking to raise awareness of the danger posed by carbon monoxide; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Steve Brine

Public Health England (PHE) raises public awareness of the impacts of carbon monoxide (CO) pollution by supporting activities that aim to change behaviour, such as the annual Clean Air Day. PHE is also working with health partners for example, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to improve the evidence on the health impacts of poor indoor air quality which will enhance advice to the public.

PHE promotes awareness about CO through the use of blog posts, press releases and social media updates. PHE produces a number of materials, which are issued over the winter period, and provide information on, and warnings of the dangers of CO poisoning to help prevent potential injury or death. This includes the Cold Weather Plan, updated in October 2018. This is shared and promoted through all channels including all local authorities and National Health Service organisations and can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cold-weather-plan-cwp-for-england

PHE published advice and guidance on social media to remind campers about the dangers of using barbeques inside tents and other enclosed spaces. An example of this can be viewed at the following link:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2015/12/15/carbon-monoxide-the-silent-killer/


Written Question
Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning
22 Nov 2018

Questioner: Barry Sheerman (LAB - Huddersfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to educate the public on (a) the dangers of carbon monoxide and (b) seek to prevent further deaths and injuries from such poisoning; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Steve Brine

Public Health England (PHE) raises public awareness of the impacts of carbon monoxide (CO) pollution by supporting activities that aim to change behaviour, such as the annual Clean Air Day. PHE is also working with health partners for example, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to improve the evidence on the health impacts of poor indoor air quality which will enhance advice to the public.

PHE promotes awareness about CO through the use of blog posts, press releases and social media updates. PHE produces a number of materials, which are issued over the winter period, and provide information on, and warnings of the dangers of CO poisoning to help prevent potential injury or death. This includes the Cold Weather Plan, updated in October 2018. This is shared and promoted through all channels including all local authorities and National Health Service organisations and can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cold-weather-plan-cwp-for-england

PHE published advice and guidance on social media to remind campers about the dangers of using barbeques inside tents and other enclosed spaces. An example of this can be viewed at the following link:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2015/12/15/carbon-monoxide-the-silent-killer/


Written Question
Air Pollution: Death
1 Nov 2018

Questioner: Edward Miliband (LAB - Doncaster North)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of air pollution in schools to the overall number of excess deaths due to air pollution in England.

Answered by Thérèse Coffey

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution, published a report in August 2018 (Associations of long-term average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide with mortality), stating:

“[…] the range of central estimates of the mortality burden of long-term exposure to the air pollution mixture in 2013 in the UK was an effect equivalent to 28,000 to 36,000 deaths at typical ages, associated with a loss of 328,000 – 416,000 life years […]”

The statistics used are not cited as the specific cause of death of any individual, but reflect an equivalency which is used to assess the different impacts of factors contributing to death.

The Committee has not attributed specific morbidity to schools or children in this report, rather to the whole population.

The report can be seen here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734799/COMEAP_NO2_Report.pdf

Air quality is the biggest environmental threat to public health, and so this Government has put in place a £3.5 billion plan to clean up our air. The Department also published our draft Clean Air Strategy for consultation this May, setting out our ambition for cleaner air for all. We will publish the final Strategy later this year.

The Department is also shortly bringing forward a new Environment Bill, which will include strong measures to improve the air we all breathe.