More than half of NHS patients in Burnley are registered at GP surgeries with unsafe levels of pollution, according to a local government network.
UK100 has revealed 67,253 people are registered at surgeries exceeding the annual limit of PM2.5 air pollution set by the World Health Organisation. This amounts to 68.1% of patients.
Councils are now calling for new laws and funding which will allow them to clean up air pollution. It causes thousands of hospital admissions and early deaths every year, according to NHS England.
Polly Billinton, director of UK100, said: “Some of the most vulnerable groups of people, including young children and older people, will walk to their GP, often to get help with respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis. This shows the real danger to their health of the air pollution in their communities. We need urgent action from the Government, with a new Clean Air Act passed by Parliament to tackle toxic fumes.”
Excess exposure to air pollution has also been linked to asthma, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, according to the Royal College of Physicians.
Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, chair of the BMA’s Board of Science, said: “Poor air quality is a serious problem in many cities across the UK and has a detrimental impact on the environment and the health of the population, including causing as many as 40,000 deaths each year. It is a shocking state of affairs that this invisible killer is still not taken seriously enough by policy makers.”