The RCP has responded to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ response to its public consultation on setting environmental targets required under the Environment Act 2021.
This confirms that the government will set a target of reducing levels of PM2.5 air pollution to 10 µg per m-3 by 2040.
The RCP and several other health organisations had called on the government to set a more ambitious target date of 2030.
In response to the announcement Professor Sir Stephen Holgate, the RCP’s special advisor on air quality, said:
“This is disappointing news and a huge missed opportunity for improving public health. Around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution every year in the UK, demonstrating the need for urgent and ambitious action to go further and faster in our efforts to improve air quality in this country.
“The government had the chance to show clear leadership on this issue by committing to reduce PM2.5 pollution to 10 µg per m-3, the 2005 WHO limit value) by 2030, as the RCP and many other health organisations have been recommending for some time, but today’s unambitious announcement has fallen substantially short of what can be achieved. We urge them to reconsider."