London' s Mayor, Boris Johnson, has accepted that 4,300 premature deaths a year in London are linked to long-term exposure to dangerous airborne particles at an annual cost of up to £2 billion. He's now joined Parliament’s cross-party Environmental Audit Committee in calling on the government to commit the resources necessary to reduce the enormous burden air pollution places on organisations such as the NHS and to implement national measures where they are most effective.
Diesel particles not only cause lung diseases but they also get into the bloodstream because they're so minute. Prof. Frank Kelly of Kings College London, who's one of the UK's leading experts on air quality, has described living in a diesel-polluted area like London as equivalent to "a lifetime of heavy smoking."
The Campaign for Clean Air in London (CCAL) has welcomed Mayor Johnson's intervention. CCAL Founder Simon Birkett said "Boris has made improving air quality in London a General Election issue by throwing the gauntlet down and sending the government a wish list of 14 measures it needs to take."
See here for the Mayor's draft Air Quality Strategy, ‘Clearing the Air’, which is now out for public consultation.