Air Quality Management Areas were introduced in 1997, resulting in the UK government’s drive to achieve its national air quality objectives.
Local Authorities carry out reviews and assessments to determine levels of air pollution. The UK must achieve the specified objectives for pollutants like Nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide, and Carbon monoxide.
Should a Local Authority find any places where the objectives are not likely to be met, they must declare an AQMA there and put together a plan to improve air quality, which is known as a Local Air Quality Action Plan.
Air pollution costs the UK government up to £20 billion and is responsible for the deaths of up to 40,000 people each year. The annual health cost of Particulate Matter alone in the UK is estimated to be around £16 billion. The NHS spends an additional £2.5 billion a year treating people with illnesses directly linked to living in cold, damp, and dangerous conditions.
It’s clear that the cost of air pollution is much too high, which is why effective Air Quality Action Plans are so important.
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