Cleaner Air Saves Lives
TramForward welcomes a report published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) which found that in the first 30 days of lockdown there was a 9% average reduction in particulates and a 36% reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels in British cities and towns
As a result of this, CREA estimates that across Europe 11,000 deaths have been avoided, with 1700 of those being in the UK. After Germany with an estimated 2083 avoided deaths these are the highest reductions in Europe illustrating just how bad air pollution normally is in the UK.
Other avoided health impacts include 1.3 million fewer days of work absence, 6,000 fewer new cases of asthma in children, 1,900 avoided emergency room visits due to asthma attacks and 600 fewer preterm births. Most of these health impacts are linked to chronic air pollution exposure and will be realised over coming months and years.
This is an indicator of how our failure over the years to cut pollution levels has led to increased levels of avoidable deaths and illness. One answer to the problem of pollution, especially particulate pollution caused by tyre and road surface erosion, on the busiest transport corridors in our towns and cities is the adoption of trams as a major provider of public transport.
Chair, Paul Rowen said “During lockdown there has been a significant reduction in air pollution due to the huge reduction in economic activity and in no small part to the substantial reduction in the number of vehicles on our roads. If authorities adopted transport solutions like new tramways this would permanently improve air quality.”
TramForward, therefore, calls upon the government and transport authorities to prioritise tramway expansion once the current emergency is over. This will not only reduce pollution and congestion in our cities and towns but by improving connectability and stimulating urban regeneration will aid in economic recovery.