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Air pollution guidelines published for consultation

The draft National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guideline Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health has been published for consultation.

The Faculty of Public Health welcomes this support for implementing interventions to reduce the menace of poor air quality and its associated burden of avoidable and inequitable mortality and morbidity.

It is also a timely development given the consequences of some vehicle manufacturers’ misleading data on emissions (Oldenkamp R et al. Environmental Pollution 212 (2016) 121-127) and the recent damning High Court judgment on the Government’s current air quality strategy.

However, the guidance is restricted to local interventions managed by local authority staff and elected members currently labouring under major budget cuts while the real levers for tackling NO2 rest elsewhere.

There is little novel in the recommendations and, while worthy, there is little chance of them making the significant reductions required without radical national interventions to tackle the impact of diesel vehicles (indeed there are only three references to diesel in the entire document). This includes reversing the ‘dieselisation’ of the national vehicle fleet and incentivisation and enabling of cycling, walking and improved public transport.

The deadline for responses to the consultation 25 January 2017.

Written: 15/12/2016 , last modified: 04/01/2017