A new report has revealed that London’s air quality policies will save the NHS an estimated £5 billion by 2050.
Figures from a report looking at long-term health impacts of exposure to toxic pollution in the capital have highlighted the impact that the policies already in place are having, and how much more they stand to make.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which came into operation last April, is the Mayor’s centrepiece of the bold action taken to tackle the crisis created by toxic air.
Air pollution is the fourth biggest risk to public health, increasing the likelihood of asthma, dementia and cancer, while also stunting the development of children’s lungs.
Already, the ULEZ has delivered health benefits, reducing the use of polluting vehicles in the zone by 36%.
And by 2050, the air quality policies such as the ULEZ, Low Emission Bus Zones, and no longer licensing new diesel taxis are predicted to result in the following benefits:
- Saving almost 300,000 Londoners from diseases attributable to air pollution, such as dementia, lung cancer and heart disease
- Cost savings of £5 billion for London’s NHS and social care system
- One million fewer new air pollution related hospital admissions in the capital.
The report also puts into stark focus the costs of the government not taking action regarding air quality policies; it would mean a cumulative cost to the NHS and social care system in London of an estimated £10.4 billion.
Sadiq Khan said: “Air pollution is a national health crisis that is contributing to thousands of premature deaths in London alone.
“Toxic air causes long-lasting harm and could devastate lives for generations. This new data shows that the action we’re taking is already making a difference and saving lives.
“The ULEZ in particular will have a transformative impact in the coming years, with one million fewer air pollution related hospital admissions and billions of pounds saved to the NHS.”