Green MEP says 89 Milton Keynes pollution deaths should shame Government

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Air pollution contributed to the deaths of 89 people in Milton Keynes in a year, according to a Government report.

Public Health England has released statistics today on the number of people dying because of air pollution in 2010.

Across the UK it is estimated that 25,002 people died because of air pollution in 2010.

Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England and a clean air campaigner, said: “These new statistics, which show that thousands of people are dying because of air pollution, make it clear that urgent action is needed to clean up our air.

“The fact that thousands are dying because of air pollution should be a source of shame for Ministers. Yet, despite the mounting evidence of this major public health threat, the Government is doing far too little to reduce air pollution.

“David Cameron, who last week flippantly blamed the smog entirely on Saharan Dust, should be ashamed of himself. The Government know that the smog last week was in part caused by the high levels of pollution we have in this country, yet, shamefully, Ministers refuse to accept responsibility. Now that these stats reveal thousands of deaths are caused by air pollution, it is time for Ministers to take this issue seriously and take urgent action to protect people’s health.”

In Mr Taylor’s constituency 4,034 deaths in 2010 were associated with air pollution. Public Health England’s report estimates that 5.5 per cent of deaths in South East England were attributable to air pollution.

Mr Taylor added: “With one in 20 deaths in my constituency caused by air pollution it is abundantly clear that action is needed. Many of our towns and cities need to radically rethink the way they are dealing with air pollution. To protect people’s health we need both the UK Government and local authorities to be bold in tackling air pollution.

“We need clean public transport options, plus a huge improvement in the numbers of people cycling and walking.

“It’s time we recognise that air pollution is a political issue. We can clean up our air, but we need to force politicians to take the issue seriously.”

To view the report visit Public Health England’s website