London poor hit hardest by transport pollution

People living in areas with the lowest car ownership suffer from worse traffic pollution and higher death and ill health rates than those living in richer areas with high car ownership, according to a London School of Hygiene report.

The research findings follow findings that traffic pollution now kills more people than road accidents.

The new research by Dr Simon Stevenson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine focussed on London and studied the number of people dying and in ill health, the levels of air pollution, the number of roads in the area, the level of car-ownership and levels of deprivation.

The report found that in London, poorer people suffer most from traffic pollution, largely caused by richer people living in comparatively clean environments.

Roger Higman, Friends of the Earth Senior Transport Campaigner commented: “This research shows that traffic pollution is mainly caused by the better off, but the poor feel its effects. The Government must respond to this research by announcing clear targets for road traffic reduction. Surely people everywhere, whatever their income, should have an equal right to breathe clean air.”

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