Deadly toll of air pollution in Doncaster

Dr Tony Baxter
Dr Tony Baxter

A total of 160 residents died from air pollution in Doncaster in 2010, shock new figures have revealed.

Health bosses said today they were working to cut air pollution after the figures were released by Public Health England.

According to the report, Doncaster is the second worst area in the region for deaths from particle air pollution, which can contribute to heart disease, at 5.6 per cent.

The town was beaten only by Rotherham where 5.7 per cent of deaths were pollution-related.

Dr Tony Baxter, Doncaster Council’s director of public health, said it was supporting measures to lower air pollution levels and reduce exposure to residents.

He added: “This includes working hard with all of our partners to encourage people to walk and cycle more rather than drive which, as well as having health benefits, also decreases traffic on the roads – cutting air pollution.”

He added: “New developments have to include travel planning measures which encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport.

“Developments also have to include open spaces and landscaped areas which provide valuable relief for residents and for wildlife.

“We welcome the information in the report about the significant effects of particle air pollution on public health, which we will now look at in detail.”

The report estimates that long-term exposure to air pollution caused the death of 2,567 people in the region during 2010 – and 25,000 nationwide.

The scale of the pollution adds up to 26,636 life years being lost in Yorkshire and was a factor in 5.3 per cent of adult deaths, the report claims.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth Yorkshire and the Humber campaigner said of the report: “We need to make sure that we have cleaner HGVs and lower emissions. 
“Introducing a national network of low emissions zones would do that.”

Earlier this year the Highways Agency consulted on proposals to impose a 60mph speed limit on the M1 from Mansfield to Rotherham to reduce emissions.