In 2019 it was estimated that 24,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK as a result of air pollution. The estimated costs of poor health as a result of air pollution to the NHS have been identified as £20 billion a year.
Concern over the effects of modern day pollution, primarily from industrial and road transport sources, has led to the introduction of the EU Directive on Air Quality.
This has been adopted by the UK in the form of the Environment Act 1995 and has led to the Government’s National Air Quality Strategies of 1997 and 2000 and Local Authorities to develop their Air Quality Action Plans.
The Air Quality Strategy provides the policy framework for air quality management and assessment in the UK. It provides air quality standards and objectives for key air pollutants, which are designed to protect human health and the environment.
The AQY unit measures the main pollutants found in urban environments: particulate matter (PM 10 & PM2.5), Ozone (O3) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). These three pollutants are known to have the biggest impact on people who live in cities and the health effects have been well documented.
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