Over 28,000 people die from air pollution in the UK every year, according to government statistics.
Air quality is a significant issue in the UK, with 38 of Britain’s 43 air quality zones exceeding EU safety limits for nitrogen dioxide, and London being the worst European capital for the pollutant.
While most air pollution deaths predictably occur in London, there are shocking differences between local areas.
In the five local areas surrounding Wembley Stadium, for example, people experience very different levels of air quality – with the north and east of the stadium having significantly better air quality than areas south and west.
London’s air kills almost one in 10
The capital city is, unsurprisingly, the UK’s pollution hotspot – which is the cause of significant health issues.
Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are the worst areas in the country, with 8.3 per cent of all deaths attributed to air pollution.
These are among the most expensive area to live in the UK, with average Kensington and Chelsea house prices in excess of £1m.
Manchester urban utopia
Manchester has better air quality than Birmingham, despite the population of its metropolitan area being twice the size of Birmingham’s.
The city of Manchester has better air quality than Nottingham, Leicester and Luton – all of which are much smaller cities.
The population of Manchester is more spread out than these other English cities – allowing the prevention of dangerous concentrations of air pollution.
England has the UK’s dirtiest air
With a staggering 25,002 deaths due to air pollution, England is suffering the most from dirty air in the UK. It has the worst air quality of any part of the UK.
Within England, the north and Cornwall have the lowest levels of pollution. The air quality in parts of Cornwall is almost as good as the the Scottish Highlands, which enjoys the UK’s cleanest air.
Northern Ireland is the country with the best air quality, closely followed by Scotland
The number of life-years lost to air pollution in England dwarves that of any other part of the UK – with 264,749 years lost in 2010.
It’s not all doom and gloom
The UK’s air is slowly becoming cleaner. This data – the latest available – is based figures from 2010, but since then the level of air pollution across the UK has declined steadily.
In 2010, the UK produced 613m tonnes of greenhouse gasses, but in 2013 this was reduced to 568m tonnes, an 8.4 per cent decrease.