According to government statistics, more than 28,000 people die from air pollution in the UK every year. Thirty-eight of Britain’s forty-three air quality zones exceed EU safety limits for nitrogen dioxide, with London being the worst European capital for this kind of pollution. Particulate matter (PM) emitted by diesel engines is also a serious concern.
Sevenoaks is among the areas badly affected by poor air quality. Official figures attribute about sixty deaths a year in the district to airborne pollution, which equates to more than five hundred and seventy life years lost.
These are only deaths among the over-25s, however. The biggest health impacts are probably on children, whose bodies are still developing. That is why it is so important to take action near schools, which in Sevenoaks are too often sited near main roads such as the A25.
The Greens are the only political party to take this issue seriously, and to value our children’s health above short-term convenience. We must do everything we can to encourage a rapid transition to cleaner modes of transport. Merely monitoring the problem (which seems to be the current approach of local government) is not good enough for Sevenoaks, or anywhere else.
Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England (2014)
 Ibid, p.16