In Luton, an estimated 86 deaths a year have been attributed to particulate air pollution with 1,004 associated life years lost. That’s 86 deaths from among local residents’ families, friends and neighbours. Every year.
These shocking statistics come from Public Health England, and are quoted in the recently published Local Air Quality Report from Luton Borough Council.
Air pollution is associated with a number of long term health effects including chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer. There is also increasing evidence linking air pollution to dementia. And air pollution has recently been shown hugely to affect intelligence – reducing people’s level of education by a year as reported by the Guardian
Air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society, especially children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions.
With the annual health costs related to the impacts of particulate matter in the UK is estimated to be around £16 billion.
Luton has a higher percentage of adult deaths (5.8%) related to long term exposure to air pollution than the rest of England (5.1%). According to the Borough Council report, the main source of air pollution in Luton is road traffic, particularly on the M1 motorway and congested Town Centre streets. Road traffic will increase substantially if Luton Airport is allowed to expand.
The airport is, another major source of air pollution in the town. Expansion to 32 million passengers a year would considerably increase the deaths among our local population.
Pages 75-77 of the Borough Council report show the location of air pollution monitoring points around the Town. Have a look to see how pollution is monitored in your neighbourhoods.
The health and wellbeing of us all is being risked by the plans by Luton Borough Council to grow London Luton Airport, with the increased traffic both by air and road, which will only increase these pollution levels.
We the residents of the town, and its surrounding areas, deserve better pollution monitoring and control of the pollution levels that currently exist, before they are made worse.