Five people die each week in Bristol as a result of high levels of air pollution, a study has revealed.
Researchers at King’s College London examined the combined impact of PM2.5, which is mainly from domestic wood and coal burning and industrial combustion and nitrogen dioxide, which mainly comes from older polluting vehicles.
The fine particulates and nitrogen dioxide that pollute Bristol’s air cause about 260 people to die each year, the scientists calculated. These pollutants could cause up to 36,000 deaths across the UK each year, and also contribute to several health conditions including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
This is the first time that new government guidance on “mortality burdens” of air pollution developed by a government advisory committee have been applied to the largest city in the south-west.
Bristol had higher levels of PM2.5 pollution than Liverpool and Greater Manchester, the study found, but a lower death rate – partly because it is less densely populated.
The research, commissioned by UK 100, revealed that a child born in 2011 could die up to six months early if exposed over their lifetime to air pollution in the city.
The study was published as the Bristol mayor hosts an air pollution summit on Monday.