AIR POLLUTION CAUSES 24,000 PREMATURE DEATHS EVERY YEAR. BRITISH GOVERNMENT FACING LEGAL ACTION: Embargo: 00.01hrs Wed 02/09/09 (03/09/09)
The government is failing to tackle air pollution despite the UK being one of the worst polluters in Europe, argues a report published today (Wed, 02/09/09) by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College, London. The report is part of the What is crime? project, funded by the Wates Foundation, which highlights hidden harms and challenges popular ideas about what crime is.
Crime is in the air highlights the following:
- It is estimated that 24,000 British residents die prematurely every year and thousands more are hospitalised, because of air pollution.
- Levels of air pollution across London require urgent attention as the 2012 games approaches.
- The EU is currently preparing a legal case against the British government for repeatedly breaching pollution levels. More than 20 towns and cities have been found to be emitting pollution at twice the level specified in WHO standards.
Author of the report, Professor Reece Walters said:
'Existing government regulations to tackle air pollution are based on a biased and erroneous partnership model that takes a soft approach with commercial polluters. The annual prosecutions for offences are appallingly disproportionate to the harm caused by air pollution. The existing regulatory system prioritises trade and economic prosperity over public safety; and this is totally unacceptable.'
Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies said:
`The serious consequences of air pollution are frequently neglected. Crime is in the air indicates that current approaches to regulation and pollution control are biased in favour of economic imperatives and are failing to tackle the health problems caused by air pollution. Perhaps this is because the majority of people affected live in low income areas.'
Will McMahon 020 7848 1695 or 07968 950223
Notes for editors
- Crime is in the air. Air pollution and regulation in the UK, is written by Professor Reece Walters at the Open University and is published by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. The report is available as a free download here. The views expressed in the report are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.
- The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College London is an independent charity that informs and educates about all aspects of crime and criminal justice. We provide information, produce research and carry out policy analysis to encourage and facilitate an understanding of the complex nature of issues concerning crime. We are a membership organisation working with practitioners, policy makers, academics and students, the media and voluntary sector, offering a programme of events, publications and online resources. www.crimeandjustice.org.uk.
- Crime is in the air is published as part of the Centre's What is crime? project, funded by the Wates Foundation.
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies